The not quite so rare earth is getting less rare by the day. The stuff that had raised the specter of a Saudi-sized rare earth embargo by the crafty Chinese is being engineered into oblivion.It also shows up en masse in the strangest places. Such as on the bottom of the sea.
The Japanese government is developing research ships that will prowl the waters for undersea resources such as rare earth metals, The Nikkei [sub] says. Equipped with high-precision sensors, the ships can send several unmanned probes at once to the bottom of the seas. Says the Nikkei:
“A research team consisting of University of Tokyo and other academics reported in a scientific magazine this summer that they had discovered areas believed to hold huge deposits of rare earths.”
As long as these deposits are not in areas contested by the Chinese, the Russian, the Koreans, the Taiwanese or all at once, all will be fine.