Japanese scientists have found huge deposits of rare earth minerals on the floor of the Pacific Ocean, which are used to make high-tech electronics products.
The discovery was made by a team led by Yasuhiro Kato, an associate professor of earth science at the University of Tokyo. The team includes researchers from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Reutersreported.
The deposits have a heavy concentration of rare earths. Just one square kilometer (0.4 square mile) of deposits will be able to provide one-fifth of the current global annual consumption, said Kato.
In a telephone interview with Reuters, Kato said that the minerals were found in sea mud dig out from depths of 3,500 to 6,000 meters (11,500-20,000 ft) below the ocean surface at 78 different locations. Almost one-third of the sites possessed rich contents of rare earths and the metal yttrium.
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