Japanese researchers have discovered enough reserves rare-earth metals (REMs) to satisfy global demand for to 700 years. Oceanographers surveyed the deep-sea mud the Pacific Ocean floor Japan's Ogasawara Islands, which are 2,000 kilometers southeast Tokyo. Scientists say the minerals find, "has the potential to supply these metals a semi-infinite basis to the world". Researchers Waseda University and the University Tokyo estimate the area they mapped contains more than 16 million tons rare-earth metals. They added that the area offers "great potential as ore deposits some of the most critically important elements in modern society".
A rare-earth metal is one a set of seventeen chemical elements in the periodic table. They have what many us would consider to be relatively unknown names, like europium, promethium scandium and terbium. The uses, applications, and demand rare-earth elements have greatly increased our reliance high-tech products. They are widely used the production of electric motors hybrid vehicles, wind turbines, hard disc drives, portable electronics, microphones, speakers and a whole array of other products. Around 90 per cent of the world's supply REMs used to manufacture advanced electronics currently comes China. The discovery near Japan could bring down prices.