China is cutting its export of rare metals and minerals by 30 percent in 2011. The substances are needed by many electronic companies in Japan, who are taking extreme measures to make sure they have enough of the substances to go around. For the workers at Re-Tem Corporation in Tokyo, one person’s trash is certainly another’s treasure. They are one of many Japanese firms involved in what is called urban mining – or the recycling of electrical equipment for precious and rare metals and minerals. On Tuesday, China, the source of much of the world’s rare earths, announced a 30 percent cut of rare earth export quotas in 2011. This follows a brief ban of rare earth metal exports to Japan during a diplomatic row. These incidents have been a wake up call, especially to Japan, to look for alternatives. So while Japan is often considered resource poor with few natural mines and ores, it has turned its attention to the wealth of national urban scrap, potentially one of the world’s wealthiest sources of metals. The National Institute of Material Sciences estimates Japan’s scrap heaps contain at least 10 percent of the entire world’s metal and mineral reserves, and could potentially have similar amounts in rare earths. [Yoshiko Yamamoto, Researcher, Re-Tem Corp.]: “A typical urban mine consists of small home appliances. There are a lot of rare earth and rare metals included in these small home appliances. We are in a process of researching how to efficiently extract and recycle rare
Video Rating: 4 / 5

15 thoughts on “Japan Looks for Rare Earth Alternatives

  1. ldavis741 says:

    I recently saw some pieces on shows like CNN and the journal with Joan Lunden on PBS that were talking about issues and solutions for industrial recycling. This is an interesting twist that could really become a game changer in the future. Whoever gets in at the beginning of the urban mining will possibly be a part of a new gold rush of sorts. I hope we start implementing such programs early on to reduce our dependence.

  2. ClarksonsinUSA says:

    Great idea,Nucor uses scrap steel to make steel in mass…………..Recycling what you already have is a great idea,China may be cutting its own throat unknowingly….

  3. PhotonDrive says:

    Urban mining is IT – for EVERYONES future! Japan is small – so goes small, to reinvent higher logics. CHINA is the place to mass-produce Fuel-Less, self-propeled transport: it;s got the Hub Drives – now it needs the Generators: try FET -P&N-gate 3-phase with Lev-co-axeled 3-phase gen. on both sides of Starship Nest. ¨Star Collection has nearly done it, as have I – you are ape-idiot of Fuelist destruction! Wake Up people to their lies, before it;s too late!

  4. Bobzeedo says:

    When did you stop taking your medicine? Maybe its time we locked you away, since you can’t seem to discern fiction from reality you might be a danger to society.

  5. PhotonDrive says:

    You are the one with no concept of coming reality! No – I DON’T HAVE those comfortable consumer items you cite! Do have 60 solar vehicles & 80 Fuel-Free Generators sitting around though! US OCCUPIES Japan – both militarily & economically! When last year they tried to break away US replied with threats, then HAARP earthquakes! Get hip dummy: take a peep at the Chemtrails over your head! They DENY! US is killing it’s own people & trying to keep it SECRET! WAKE UP!

  6. h9653 says:

    – You have no concept of reality. Do you have a cell phone, a CD player, a tv, or any other tangible product that you plug into a wall? If so, think about what you just said. The worst lie is a lie to yourself.

  7. Saffronwing1 says:

    Japanese could always set up mining in India, USA and Brazil. It would take some time to build up to China’s level but it would be a big counter-step.

  8. PhotonDrive says:

    Starts right off with a “reassuring lie”! China’s 30% cut is for first SIX MONTHS of 2011 – NOT for the whole year. The past year has been studed with these desperate “disinformation” campaigns. THE BIG LIE IS THAT THE US CAN CUT OIL USE BY 90% – EASILY : but continues to REFUSE to allow civilian use. INSTEAD it bombs unarmed women & children EVERYDAY, and tries to SURROUND China with Nuke bases and threats! Japan should cut all ties to US, partner with China in WORLD TECH REVOLUTION!

  9. acuriousbeast says:

    Surprisingly low viewership on this one. Brief volunteering at a local recycling center gave insight into industry future. One of the owners was eventually expecting much future resource gathering from old U.S. dumps. Not that far off probably.

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