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Friday, 29th June 2012
In General Japan News,

Japan discovers large mineral deposit under sea

Researchers in Japan have made a significant discovery of rare earth minerals at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, a Tokyo University professor has revealed.

Rare earth minerals are used in the production of technological devices such as tablet computers and smartphones, but maintaining their supply has often been a cause for concern.

The 6.8 million tonne deposit of minerals including dysprosium discovered beneath the seabed close to the Minamitorishima island is thought to be enough to supply the nation's technology industries for over 400 years, AFP reported.

Revealing the discovery, professor Yasuhiro Kato told the news agency that the find could feed Japan's consumption of the minerals for centuries.

"We can start drilling in the mud, using oil extraction technology, within three years at the earliest and start producing rare earth minerals within five years," he revealed.

Dysprosium is typically used alongside another rare earth mineral, Vanadium, and is often used in the manufacturing of laser and commercial lighting systems.

Written by Mark Smith