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Discovery of $513B Rare Metal
Could Change the World

Minamitorishima Island, also known as Marcus Island, hosts vast reserves of rare elements in deep-sea mud.

The discovery of a huge hoard of rare metals needed for futuristic tech on a tiny Pacific island could transform the world economy. It has been described as an "almost infinite" supply, with one of the metals found – rare-earth oxide – worth approximately $513 Billion, according to The Sun, a news UK Company.

One of the metals found, yttrium is used for camera lenses and mobile phone screens

A new study published in the journal Scientific Reports reports Japanese researchers found more than 16 million tonnes of the elements needed to build hi-tech products.

These would include smartphones, radar devices, missile systems and electric vehicles.

The deposits at Marcus Island – which is just 1km from end to end- were found within Japan's exclusive economic waters.

The tiny island’s metal supply was discovered by Japanese researchers

One of the metals found, yttrium (REY), is used for camera lenses, mobile phone screens, hybrid vehicles, rechargeable batteries, wind turbines, light emitting diodes, compact fluorescent lamps, and many medical and military technologies – currently it is worth $3,400 per pound.

The industrial utility of REY, especially in renewable energy technologies and electronics, has driven up the demand for the essential metals in recent years.

Several universities, businesses and government institutions clubbed together to survey the sample area.

Technology Metals Research LLC founding principal Jack Lifton, who wasn’t involved in the research, told The Wall Street Journal “this is a game-changer for Japan”.

Adding: “The race to develop these resources is well under way."

The findings suggest that a 2500sq km region off the southern Japanese island should contain 16 million tonnes of the valuable elements.

It concluded it “has the potential to supply these metals on a semi-infinite basis to the world”.

The report said some of the rare-earth elements found there could be mined for hundreds of years.

It would be expensive to extract them, but Japan is keen to gain more control over future technologies and weapons.

Source: The Sun Newspaper, www.thesun.co.uk.

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