Deep Sea Mud Provides Potential Source of Rare Earth Minerals
Source: Tuscon Citizen, Jonathan DuHamel (7/6/11)
"Japan's Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology finds deposits of rare earth minerals in deep sea muds."
Research and drilling by Japan's Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology claims to have found deposits of rare earth minerals in deep sea muds in the Pacific.
According to Reuters, the Japanese agency found "the minerals in sea mud extracted from depths of 3,500 to 6,000m (11,500-20,000 ft) below the ocean surface at 78 locations. One-third of the sites yielded rich contents of rare earths and the metal yttrium." The deposits, found in international waters stretching east and west of Hawaii, as well as east of Tahiti in French Polynesia, are estimated to contain 80 to 100B tons of rare earth elements which could be extracted by simple acid leaching.
It remains to be seen if these very deep resources can actually be economically recovered.