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China Earth Japan Science Technology

Japanese Team Finds New Source of Rare Earth Elements 215

gyaku_zuki writes "As reported in the BBC, a Japanese survey team has discovered 'vast' quantities of rare earths in international waters in the Pacific Ocean. The search for alternative sources of these expensive elements (used in common consumer electronics including mobile phones) was intensified recently after a territory dispute with China, which produces more than 90% of the world's rare earths, resulted in China blocking export to Japan."
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Japanese Team Finds New Source of Rare Earth Elements

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  • Re:So... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Monday July 04, 2011 @05:27PM (#36655672) Journal

    Alternatively, let's put our technological well-being in the hands of a country that has shown little compunction in using its dominance to screw with any other country that gets in its way.

  • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by YodasEvilTwin ( 2014446 ) on Monday July 04, 2011 @05:28PM (#36655674) Homepage
    You're talking about the US, right?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 04, 2011 @05:47PM (#36655794)

    This is silly rare earths are not rare, just toxic to refine from ore.

    China has the market cornered because they don't give a shit that they dump toxic sludge doing it.

  • Re:So... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 04, 2011 @05:59PM (#36655880)

    most modern windmills and solar cells need rare earth metals for their fabrication. so pick one, 'clean' energy or reduced environmental damage caused by mineing. you can't have both.

  • Re:So... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by crdotson ( 224356 ) on Monday July 04, 2011 @06:04PM (#36655906)

    So... let's never do anything, since it could have some ecological impact. :rollseyes:

    I mean, the mindset that anything humans do is, by default, evil to the environment is annoying. Dredging the ocean floor might be awful for the environment -- or it might be the most environmentally friendly way to obtain these materials that we need for a modern lifestyle. I don't know the answer without doing some research, but I'm willing to bet quite a bit that you didn't know the answer before posting your kneejerk comment. Having posted my own kneejerk comment, I will now go look it up. :)

  • Re:So... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Monday July 04, 2011 @06:25PM (#36656030) Journal

    So where would you rather live, China or the US?

  • by IHC Navistar ( 967161 ) on Monday July 04, 2011 @08:01PM (#36656552)



    Geologists have know for decades that the oceans contain a vast quantity of minerals, including rare earths. The Glomar Explorer, for example was built to secretly salvage a sunken Soviet submarine. However, a realistic cover story was needed, so the Government settled on saying that it was a ship designed to recover manganese nodules (which contain a smorgasboard of minerals and rare earths, in addition to high concentrations of manganese, hence the name) that cover the ocean floor.

    The plausibility of the story rested in the fact that there *DO* exist extremely vast sources of minerals (including rare earths) on the sea floor.

    Honest to God, why do highly educated and credentialed people keep overlooking things that have been known for a years?!

    This should be grounds for revoking their credentials until they go back to school..... again.

    I can already see the next "discovery" headline:

    "Japanese researchers discover rotting fish stinks!"

  • Re:It's deep (Score:4, Insightful)

    by The Master Control P ( 655590 ) <ejkeever@nerds[ ]k.com ['hac' in gap]> on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @01:16AM (#36657812)
    Here's a hint, pal: If you think it's that easy, and it's not being done, it's because you are wrong, not because the entire world engineering community is stupid.

    In related news tonight, the Dunning-Kruger Effect is in full effect in this thread.

10.0 times 0.1 is hardly ever 1.0.