Quick Answer: “Rare Earth Metals” may not be so rare as previously thought, at least if a report in Nature Geoscience’s July 3rd issue holds up. According to the journal, Japanese Geologists found that deep sea deposits near thermal vents on the ocean floor are loaded with rare earth metals. ScienceNews says based on the findings,”One square patch of metal-rich mud 2.3 kilometers wide might contain enough rare earths to meet most of the global demand for a year.” More than 97% of rare earth metals currently come from mines in China and East Asia.
The study’s leader, Yasuhiro Kato of the University of Tokyo added, “I believe that rare earth resources undersea are much more promising than on-land resources.” Though captivating, the idea of harvesting rare earth metals from deep sea deposits is still a long way from becoming a practical, or cost efficient solution to boost supply side production. In the words of one commodity mining specialist, “I don’t understand how this can be expected to be an economic way to recover rare earth.”
See how the market reacted to the news with a look at these rare earth mining stocks: MolyCorp (NYSE:MCP) down 2.07%, Avalon Rare Metals (AMEX:AVL) down 5.90%, Thompson Creek Metals Co. (NYSE:TC) down .30%, General Moly Inc. (AMEX:GMO) down 1.37%, and PolyMet Mining Corp. (AMEX:PLM) up 2.87%.