Japan Finds “Semi-infinite” Trove of Rare Earth Elements

Discussion in '[H]ard|OCP Front Page News' started by Megalith, Apr 15, 2018.

  1. Megalith

    Megalith 24-bit/48kHz Staff Member

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    Despite fears that the world could be running out of critical minerals, a team of researchers in Japan has discovered a massive reserve of rare earth elements: 16 million tons of rare earth oxide and various other elements were found, enough to feed global demand on a “semi-infinite basis.”

    The world relies heavily on China for rare earths, with Beijing producing most of the elements currently available on the market. But Beijing has severely restricted exports of these products at times of diplomatic tension. In 2010, for example, Japanese manufacturers faced serious supply shortages as China limited the valuable exports.
     
  2. thesmokingman

    thesmokingman [H]ardness Supreme

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  3. emphy

    emphy Limp Gawd

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    Small problem: it's spread in deep-sea mud.

    Second small problem: the total amount is an extrapolation of an estimate of a sample area. So, quite possibly, an exaggeration of a factor 10.
     
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  4. thesmokingman

    thesmokingman [H]ardness Supreme

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    Versus not having any...
     
  5. Skillz

    Skillz [H]ard DCOTY 2017

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    They already solved that problem.

    "The team has also developed an efficient method to separate valuable elements from others in the mud."
     
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  6. Mega6

    Mega6 Gawd

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    Ha Ha!

     
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  7. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics I don't get it

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    Semi infinite... fucking sigh, why cant they just say potentially large amount
     
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  8. SecretStash

    SecretStash Limp Gawd

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    Good, this will nicely reduce China's powers of "nuclear option" for trade disputes/wars.
     
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  9. Derfnofred

    Derfnofred Gawd

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    "Semi-infinite" = probably a botched translation from the Japanese original?

    Also, just because there's this (potentially) huge reserve of rare earth oxides and a method of extracting them, there's no guarantee it's not without heroic effort and cost. On the other hand, not having a single source is a good_thing.
     
  10. gigaxtreme1

    gigaxtreme1 2[H]4U

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    Rare earths are heavy and sink to the mud and are usually created by undersea volcanic vents. Large areas of the pacific ocean near the mid-pacific ridge have been identified containing high concentrations of rare earths. Ocean mining by dredge has been practical for years but environmental and international rights (Who has rights and how much share) concerns have hampered development. The Japanese should develop this quickly to provided the best scientific data on environmental data so that ocean mining can become more accepted.
     
  11. Cobalt35

    Cobalt35 [H]ard|Gawd

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    No longer dependent solely on China. Thank fuck for that.
     
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  12. wyqtor

    wyqtor Limp Gawd

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    God bless their souls, they finally found something of use on those resource-barren islands, other than the wonderful people inhabiting them of course!

    The only place I went to where I kinda felt just like a barbarian must have felt when visiting Rome back in the ancient times.
     
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  13. c3k

    c3k [H]ard|Gawd

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    How close is this mud to Fukushima? Maybe it’s related? Hmm....
     
  14. Croak

    Croak [H]ard|Gawd

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    You want Kaijū? Because that's how you get Kaijū...
     
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  15. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics I don't get it

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    So does it count if we send all the raw material to China to be processed, and then manufactured?
     
  16. kinjo

    kinjo Gawd

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    Dear God please let this work out so that we can extricate ourselves from the grasp of china's monopoly on these materials.
     
  17. daringx

    daringx n00bie

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    There's plenty of rare earth metals here in the US. It's just that China undercut US suppliers so that they became unprofitable and closed down the mines. I think a few have reopened since China started their embargo tactics a few years ago and the DoD got anxious. Rest assured, the US is not dependent on China for rare earth metals in the long run...the longer we can reserve our stockpiles the better.
     
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  18. cyclone3d

    cyclone3d [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Look at that island. It is shark-tooth shaped.

    That had to be one massive shark!
     
  19. MrTryfe

    MrTryfe Limp Gawd

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    What the hell does "semi-infinite" even mean? It's either finite or it isn't. There's no "semi-infinite".
     
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  20. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

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    It means that there's enough stuff for us and our children and probably then some. It won't run out in our lifetimes.
     
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  21. Aireoth

    Aireoth [H]ard|Gawd

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    There is a Canadian company starting a mine off Brazil. Sadly the hippies up here are already out in force to stop it.
     
  22. Verge

    Verge [H]ardness Supreme

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    They eat whales and dolphins... you think they care about environmental concerns?
     
  23. Ur_Mom

    Ur_Mom I'm Not Serious

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    It means at the end of the day we can knock it out of the ball park with enough senergy to decimate the competition. Even better if we use The Cloud to help with the AI computing necessary for the big data that is literally required as part of the solution.

    Buzzwords and hyperbole. It sounds cool. That's all.
     
  24. SvenBent

    SvenBent 2[H]4U

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    Semi-infinity...

    your-statement-gave-me-forest-whitaker-eye.jpg
     
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  25. Nobu

    Nobu [H]ard|Gawd

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    Time to buy yen?
     
  26. darrpara

    darrpara Gawd

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    There is a local company here in Austin called Urban Mining Company that is building a massive facility to recycle electronics and extract rare earth minerals. Pretty promising with plenty of commercial and government (Defense Logistics Agency Phase II) funding.
     
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  27. jpm100

    jpm100 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Reducing material to a slurry (mud) is a common mining technique, anyway.
     
  28. jpm100

    jpm100 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Kind of like 'running out of rare earth elements'?
     
  29. That_Sound_Guy

    That_Sound_Guy 2[H]4U

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    "Place the turkey in a pre-heated oven. It's ridiculous! There's only two states an oven can possibly exist in, heated or unheated. Preheated is a meaningless fucking term" /quote: George Carlin

    Cliffs: Some people have the dumb
     
  30. Ur_Mom

    Ur_Mom I'm Not Serious

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    More like "China is controlling the availability of rare earth elements". I like when there is more than one provider of something. Not only for competition, but I don't like one entity controlling something and only them dictating the rules and prices. The spice must flow.
     
  31. cjcox

    cjcox Gawd

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    This semi-infinite trove of rare earth elements will absolutely make your day occasionally!
     
  32. Archaea

    Archaea [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Resource Barren?

    When I visited Japan we stayed a week in Hagi. It was a veratible paradise of wildlife, trees, food, sea. Seemed a beautiful abundance through the countryside we visited. It’s the prettiest place besides Yosemite that I’ve ever seen.
     
  33. katanaD

    katanaD [H]ard|Gawd

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    dont think i would want to be on that "island" if there was any sort of storm. Looks like all it needs is one good wave to clear it.
     
  34. defaultluser

    defaultluser I B Dum

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    "rare" earths are not rare (despite the name). They're just environmentally messy to mine, so we left it up to the Chinese.

    There are several mines here in the US that could re-open, if prices rose enough to afford the EPA cleanup standards.
     
  35. PantherBlitz

    PantherBlitz Limp Gawd

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    That's OK. Their monopoly on everything else will ease their pain somewhat.
     
  36. jpm100

    jpm100 [H]ardness Supreme

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    China will go back to dumping if Japan tries to enter the market. Japan will likely use this for themselves and not try to export.
     
  37. SecretStash

    SecretStash Limp Gawd

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    Likely, and China no longer has leverage, even if the rest of the world still bought from China. And that's the important thing.
     
  38. cjcox

    cjcox Gawd

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    A recent Daisy Cutter deployment in Syria has accidentally uncovered a semi-infinite supply of rare earth elements in Syria.

    President Trump has invited both Assad and Putin to a clam bake at Mar-a-Lago. BYOB (note: the second B is not the word "bomb").
     
  39. 5150Joker

    5150Joker 2[H]4U

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    Time for Trump to liberate Japan, they seem to lack a lot of freedom.
     
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  40. Azphira

    Azphira [H]ard|Gawd

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    If we get our asses into space, we have access to a whole hell of a lot more elements.