Japan finds a heap of rare earth minerals!

image_pdf

When you think about precious or rare metals, Gold, Silver and Platinum probably come to mind. But what about europium or yttrium? No, these are not magical spells—but in fact rare metals that we use everyday.

There are 17 rare-earth metals such as yttrium, europium, terbium, dysprosium that are used to make our everyday electronics, such as iPods, microwave ovens, and even our cars.

So where do all these rare-earth metals come from? Rare-earth metals, despite their name aren’t “rare”. Many countries such as Vietnam, China, Brazil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and more have natural rare-earth metal reserves. They are called rare because they are difficult to mine. China has mastered how to do so and currently controls 90 – 95% of the world’s rare-earth metal supply.

How was China able to do this? These rare-earth metals are just that—metals that are found in the earth, as in mud. So in order to be of use they actually have to be separated from the dirt and mud. China not only has large reserves but also the equipment and machinery needed to separate the metals from the mud. On the other hand, countries like Vietnam and Brazil only have reserves, and countries like the United States only have the machinery to process but no reserves. So, China controls the supply and has hiked the price 10 times over!

Photo Credit: yahoo News Singapore

Sounds a bit unfair right? Japan, who heavily relies on China’s supply of the rare-earth metals for manufacturing electronics and cars certainly thought so. So, they set off to look for the rare-earth metals in their own oceans. It took them awhile, but they found a large supply on their ocean floor—stretching across 965-square-miles containing 16 million tons of rare-earth metals. That’s enough to supply the world for over 400 years!

Realising that it’s not enough to only have natural reserves, Japan is heavily investing in machinery and equipment for the process of separating the rare-earth metals from soil and dirt, which might potentially end China’s monopoly.


 

Written by Tanika Thacker. Tanika is a writer by day and a foodie by night. She lives in San Francisco and nothing makes her happier than ice-cream on a cold, rainy afternoon. You can follow her meanderings on @tanikathacker and @boozefoodlatitude

Spread the love
No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Write to us at
mail@currentkids.in

Help us keep currentkids, current! We’d love to hear about your crazy adventures and experiences. Send us your pictures, travel diaries, thoughts on cool new gadgets, gaming experiences and anything else you find interesting!

About Us

Welcome to our entertaining and empowering news source for kids with inquisitive minds! This is a digital space that keeps kids aged 8 and above (and your families!) connected to what’s happening in the world. We filter a wide variety of news, events, and interesting bits of trivia to develop short, relevant, unbiased content in creative formats. We give everyone something to relate to and get engaged with in short bytes of information with a snappy, chatty feel. We believe in encouraging curiosity, creativity and continued learning in our safe digital space.

Why is reading non-fiction important?

This helps curious minds to learn more about the outside world. It also enriches their vocabulary and their general knowledge. Simplified news helps children to express their opinions easily with their friends and family and gives them some perspective on complex issues. Our safe news website will give you parents a useful tool with which to navigate the digital world with your children.

We hope you enjoy our posts!

Biyash & Sunaina

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and stay current!

 

You have successfully subscribed to the newsletter

There was an error while trying to send your request. Please try again.