You are here: Home » News-IANS » Science-Tech
Business Standard

Japanese island's mud could alter global economy: Study

IANS  |  Tokyo 

An estimated 16 million tonnes of mud containing massive, "semi-infinite" stores of valuable rare earth minerals, found in a small in the could alter global economy, a new study has revealed.

According to the study published by a team of Japanese researchers, this huge patch of mineral-rich deep sea mud lies near Minamitori Island, 1,200 km off the coast of Japan, reports

Rare earth minerals contain rare earth elements that are used in like smartphones, missile systems, and hybrid vehicles.

For instance, yttrium, one of the metals included in this recent discovery, can be used to make camera lenses, superconductors and cell phone screens.

The 16 million tonnes of materials could contain 780 years worth of yttrium, 620 years worth of europium, 420 years worth of terbium and 730 years worth of dysprosium.

In other words, it "has the potential to supply these materials on a semi-infinite basis to the world", the study said.

According to the US Geological Survey, while the minerals are relatively abundant, they have "much less tendency to become concentrated in exploitable ore deposits", making a find of this scale even more important.

"Most of the world's supply of (rare earth elements) comes from only a handful of sources," quoted a USGS report as saying.

currently holds a tight grip on the rare earth minerals -- controlling about 95 per cent of global rare earths production as of 2015. Because of this, and other countries rely on to set prices and availability.

However, has complete economic control over the new supply, and the study said all indications are the new resource "could be exploited in the near future".

Even though is more than a thousand miles away from the Japanese capital, it is still technically a part of Tokyo, in the village of Ogasawara, and falls within Japan's economic borders.

--IANS

ksk

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, April 17 2018. 11:14 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU