The Japanese government announced that it will excavate rare earths from the 6,000-meter seabed near the Minamitori Island of the Ogasawara Islands in Japan to get rid of the current situation of relying on Chinese supplies.
▲ The location of Minami Bird Island (Image source: Google Maps)
The Japanese government will revise the Mining Act next year, and aims to conduct trial mining within five years, hoping to achieve self-sufficiency in rare earths, which are indispensable in electronic products. In the revised Budget to be introduced in 2022, there will be allocations for research funding.
In 2012, Japan discovered that soil rich in rare earth elements was found in the 6,000-meter seabed of the economic waters near Minamitori Island in the Ogasawara Islands, and the buried amount would be enough for domestic consumption in Japan for hundreds of years.
Mining rare earths will use the world’s first successful technology. From August to September this year, the Japan Ocean Research and Development Agency’s deep-earth mining and survey vessel “Earth” released a suction pipe on the seabed of 2,470 meters in Ibaraki Prefecture. Suck on the ground. In the coming year, the suction mud pump will be strengthened, and the target is to absorb 350 tons of soil per day.
Image Source:Yomiuri Shimbun
For China’s rare earth exploration in mines, how to reduce the cost of rare earth exploration in the deep seabed will become a major issue. The Japanese government will look for efficient mining and production methods in the next five years, and expects to create an environment in which private enterprises can be introduced in fiscal 2028.
At present, 60% of the rare earths consumed in Japan are imported from China, which may cause supply problems. The Japanese government has designated rare earths as “specifically important materials” based on the Economic Security Promotion Act, and the country will ensure sufficient supply.