They found the minerals in sea mud extracted from depths of 3,500 to 6,000 metres (11,500-20,000 ft) below the ocean surface at 78 locations. One-third of the sites yielded rich contents of rare earths and the metal yttrium, Kato said in a telephone interview.The materials involved are important in the manufacture of electronics, magnets, and batteries.
The deposits are in international waters in an area stretching east and west of Hawaii, as well as east of Tahiti in French Polynesia, he said.
Alas, there is one fly on this ointment, and it's called the Law Of The Sea Treaty, which we recognize, but are not signatory to. This bit of U.N. sponsored "New Economic Order" declares the contents of the seas to be the common heritage of mankind, and demands that anyone making a buck off it divvy up the profits between themselves and the population of the world.
Of course if the Japanese decide that they're tired of getting raped by the Chinese for these materials, and begin to extract them for them selves, it's hard to see what the Chinese could do about it, short of an act of war.
In our own country, while these deposits would bring down the price and improve the efficiency of the president's beloved electric vehicles and windmills, I don't doubt for a second that he would accede to the demands of the greens not to strip mine the ocean floors.