By on October 8, 2011

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.

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4 Comments on “Rare Earth: A Race To The Bottom...”

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    The Chinese monopoly will be broken, and no one will have to get wet:

    October 3, 2011
    Molycorp Set to Announce a Rare Earth Rediscovery

    “An all-but-forgotten rocky outcropping in Southern California contains ore that could help break the country’s dependence on China for certain types of rare earth metals, according to the only American producer of rare earths.”

    Brazil’s Vale Discovers Rare Earths in Amazon
    OCTOBER 3, 2011

    “RIO DE JANEIRO—Brazilian miner Vale SA has discovered deposits of rare-earth minerals at its giant Salobo copper-mine project at Carajas in Para state, similar to quality at some Australian deposits, a leading Brazilian minerals researcher said late last week.”

  • avatar

    I love the Saab ad I just got on this page.
    Maybe at fire sale prices I might consider one, but it would have to be a real Crazy Eddie kind of deal, like $20K.

    I wonder if the ad company will take the hit for low response rate.

  • avatar

    This reminds me of John Piña Craven, the manganese nodules and submarine spying.

    Rare earths aren’t all that rare, this is going to turn out to be a Chinese foot-shot.

  • avatar

    Japan is always concerned about mineral supplies because they have so little on land. They have just finished building a new research ship which has two drill systems for exploring hydrothermal deposits. One of the drill systems was built by my company in the USA. Here’s some information on the last research ship and it’s equipment:

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