Matter of fact, the country found so many rare-earth metals that researchers say it now has enough to supply the world on a “semi-infinite basis,” reports CNBC. The hoard of rare-earth metals was found in Japanese waters in the Pacific Ocean in a 965-square-mile seabed near Minami-Tori-shima Island. In that seabed, researchers found, sits more than 16 million tons of rare-earth oxides.
Rare-earth metals are critical in our high-tech gadget age. They are needed to make everything from mobile phones to batteries to electric vehicles. Previously, much of the world relied on China to supply its rare-earth metals fix. But now that there’s a new vendor in town, companies will have more options for where to buy the precious resource. And that’s a good thing, considering China held back the shipments of its rare-earth metals to Japan in 2010 during a dispute over islands both countries lay claim over.