A newly discovered huge concentration of rare-earth minerals—used by everything from phones to flat-screen TVs and lasers—could break China’s stranglehold on over 95 per cent of the world’s known commercially exploitable supply. A stockpile that it’s been holding to ransom. As a gadget lover, you can see why this is important.
Japanese geologists have published a study in the journal, Nature Geoscience, that presents evidence found after drilling, in some cases, as deep as 50 meters below the deep ocean floor. In total, 78 sites were studied over a large portion of centre-east of the Pacific.
The 17 rare-earth elements take millions of years to deposit, and now the challenge will be devising technology to recover quantities of mud that can be up to 5,000 metres below the surface. [AFP via Google]