Rare Earths

All of a sudden, they’re no longer rare.

Isn’t technology great?

And who does it hit hardest? China. Boo fricken’ hoo.

13 comments on this post.
  1. McGehee:

    Japan will need to be able to project power if it hopes to keep China’s mitts off those finds. Fortunately, they seem to have realized the importance of military capability over the past year or so.

  2. Paul D.:

    Japan has 10,000 bombs worth of separated plutonium in their stockpile. It was ostensibly for their fast reactor program, but that reactor had lots of trouble and has recently been shut down for good. There was some thought that program was just a cover for the buildup of the Pu stockpile.

  3. McGehee:

    There was some thought

    By whom?

  4. Paul D.:

    My use of passive voice is to conceal the fact that I don’t remember.

  5. Paul D.:

    Here’s an example.


  6. Dick Eagleson:

    The stuff is in Japanese territorial waters. Japan isn’t going to need to project power very far to keep unwelcome interlopers out.

    Not like they can’t already project some pretty considerable power anyway. The JDF has about the same number of “helicopter destroyers” (aircraft carriers) right now as the IJN did at the time of Pearl Harbor. Some of them are even wearing the names of their IJN forbears.

    China tries any resource grabbing, they’re going to draw back a bloody stump.

  7. McGehee:

    I wish I were as confident of that as you are. China has been preparing the battlespace in Asian waters for a great many years.

  8. Dick Eagleson:

    So have the Japanese.

  9. Karl Hallowell:

    Is that deposit unique? If it’s not, then China would have to do a lot more than just keep Japan out of that sea space.

  10. Paul D.:

    It’s almost certainly not unique, but then it’s not really anything to get excited about. If I’m reading the numbers correctly that deposit is about 20x average crustal concentrations, which is subeconomic even if the deposits were up on dry land.

    If prices rise high enough to make that worthwhile, then all sorts of currently unecoomic deposits on land would become viable first.

  11. David Spain:

    Interesting. Also curious if there is anything particularly unique about the location of these deposits or that possibility that there might be others in unexplored sea areas, like those within the US? But if land deposits are viable first it wouldn’t matter I suppose.

  12. FC:

    Good thing the Glomar Explorer is still available.

  13. BigFire:

    Go read up on Tim Worstall’s blog and tweets. He’s a trader of rare earth minerals and have a lot to insight to offer. In particular, this ‘find’ is identical to the one they have a couple of years back.

    Rare Earth isn’t really that rare. It’s the willingness to process and the environmental toll that has to be paid that limits its production. China with no environmental laws is more than willing to pay that price.

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