その他
PR

Huge rare earth deposits found in Pacific: Japan experts

2011年 07月 4日 15:58 JST
 
  • Mixiチェック

A chronic shortage of rare earths, vital for making a range of high-technology electronics, magnets and batteries, has encouraged mining projects for them in recent years.

China, which accounts for 97 percent of global rare earth supplies, has been tightening trade in the strategic metals, sparking an explosion in prices.

Japan, which accounts for a third of global demand, has been stung badly, and has been looking to diversify its supply sources, particularly of heavy rare earths such as dysprosium used in magnets.

Kato said the sea mud was especially rich in heavier rare earths such as gadolinium, lutetium, terbium and dysprosium.

"These are used to manufacture flat-screen TVs, LED (light-emitting diode) valves, and hybrid cars," he said.

Extracting the deposits requires pumping up material from the ocean floor. "Sea mud can be brought up to ships and we can extract rare earths right there using simple acid leaching," he said.

"Using diluted acid, the process is fast, and within a few hours we can extract 80-90 percent of rare earths from the mud."

The team found that sites close to Hawaii and Tahiti were especially rich in rare earths, he said.

He gave no estimate of when extraction of the materials from the seabed might start.

(Reporting by El Tan in Hong Kong and Yuko Inoue in Tokyo; Editing by Michael Watson)

 
写真

低下の内閣支持率も買い材料に

日経平均が節目の1万5500円を突破。ただ、ドル/円の上値は依然重く、業績拡大の楽観論が強まったわけではない。
  記事の全文 | 特集ページ 

 

注目の商品

<p>Marks made by an excavator is pictured at the old site of a rare earth metals mine on the outskirts of Longnan county, in Jiangxi Province October 27, 2010. REUTERS/Jason Lee</p>

外国為替フォーラム

写真
低価格ビジネスを直撃

人手不足のあおりを直接に受けている分野の一つが、コストを抑えた低価格戦略で成長してきた外食、小売りなどのビジネスだ。  記事の全文 

ロイターの公式アカウントはこちら!