Massive, ‘semi-infinite’ trove of rare-earth metals found in Japan

(CNBC) Researchers have found hundreds of years’ worth of critical rare-earth metals beneath Japanese waters — enough to supply to the world on a “semi-infinite basis,” according to a study published on Tuesday.

The materials sit in a roughly 965-square-mile Pacific Ocean seabed near Minamitorishima Island, which is located 1,150 miles southeast of Tokyo, according to the study published in Nature Publishing Group’s Scientific Reports.

Rare-earth metals are crucial in the making of high-tech products such as electric vehicles, mobile phones and batteries, and the world has relied on China for almost all of its rare-earth material.

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