Japan finds rich rare earth deposits on seabed: Study
TOKYO (AFP) - Japanese researchers said Thursday they have found a rich deposit of rare earths on the Pacific seabed, with reports suggesting it could be up to 30 times more concentrated than Chinese reserves.
Mud samples taken from 5,800 metres below the waves contained highly concentrated amounts of the precious minerals, which are vital for high-tech manufacturing and used in products including wind turbines and iPods.
The proving of resources is significant for Japan, which currently relies largely on China, the source of around 90 per cent of the world's supply of rare earths.
Manufacturers have complained in the past that Beijing restricts exports of the materials at times of tension.