i3 - July/August 2018 - 15

itself is about nearly four miles deep at that
location), about 160 miles south of
Minamitori Island. Reports about the possibility of a stash leaked out during subsequent years, but in true scientific manner
the official acknowledgement came only
after a thorough review and publication in
the April 2018 Nature journal.
The geopolitical impact of the discovery
is still being evaluated. A couple months
after details of the REE deposits were
revealed, electronics makers declined to
discuss how they will deal with the new
source. Even Japanese companies told i3
that they were not ready to comment about
the Minamitori treasure trove. A spokesman for one manufacturer, who insisted on
anonymity, diplomatically explained that
the company will evaluate how its supply
chain would deliver a sustainable supply of
resources mined in a responsible manner
from any national origin.
"It is important to secure our own source
of resources, given how China controls the
prices," says Yutaro Takaya, the Waseda
University professor who led the study.
Acknowledging the high cost of extracting
REEs from mud miles underwater, Takaya
told the Wall Street Journal that more
research will be needed on methods to get
to the elements. A consortium - composed
of government-backed organizations and
research institutions, as well as corporations such as Toyota Motor Corp. - is
already taking shape to conduct feasibility
tests within the next five years.
Discovery of the Japanese REE lode
comes at a time when the U.S. Department
of Energy and the European Union have
expressed concerns about shortages not
only because of China's hegemony of the
materials, but also due to China's increased
consumption of REEs in its own products.
Last year, China accounted for 80 percent
of the global REE supply. Most of China's
REEs are mined in Inner Mongolia.

NOT SO RARE, BUT STILL VITAL

Despite their exotic names, "rare" earth
elements are not always obscure, but are
invaluable in the production of many new
C TA . t e c h / i 3

JULY/AUGUST 2018

15



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i3 - July/August 2018

Contents
i3 - July/August 2018 - Cover1
i3 - July/August 2018 - Cover2
i3 - July/August 2018 - Contents
i3 - July/August 2018 - 2
i3 - July/August 2018 - 3
i3 - July/August 2018 - 4
i3 - July/August 2018 - 5
i3 - July/August 2018 - 6
i3 - July/August 2018 - 7
i3 - July/August 2018 - 8
i3 - July/August 2018 - 9
i3 - July/August 2018 - 10
i3 - July/August 2018 - 11
i3 - July/August 2018 - 12
i3 - July/August 2018 - 13
i3 - July/August 2018 - 14
i3 - July/August 2018 - 15
i3 - July/August 2018 - 16
i3 - July/August 2018 - 17
i3 - July/August 2018 - 18
i3 - July/August 2018 - 19
i3 - July/August 2018 - 20
i3 - July/August 2018 - 21
i3 - July/August 2018 - 22
i3 - July/August 2018 - 23
i3 - July/August 2018 - 24
i3 - July/August 2018 - 25
i3 - July/August 2018 - 26
i3 - July/August 2018 - 27
i3 - July/August 2018 - 28
i3 - July/August 2018 - 29
i3 - July/August 2018 - 30
i3 - July/August 2018 - 31
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i3 - July/August 2018 - 33
i3 - July/August 2018 - 34
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i3 - July/August 2018 - 38
i3 - July/August 2018 - 39
i3 - July/August 2018 - 40
i3 - July/August 2018 - 41
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i3 - July/August 2018 - 43
i3 - July/August 2018 - 44
i3 - July/August 2018 - Cover3
i3 - July/August 2018 - Cover4
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