July 5, 2011 / 1:00 PM / 8 years ago

Factbox: Global reserves of rare earths

TOKYO (Reuters) - Vast deposits of rare earth minerals, crucial in making high-tech electronic products, have been found on the floor of the Pacific Ocean and can be readily extracted, Japanese scientists said on Monday.

A bastnaesite mineral containing rare earth is pictured at a laboratory of Yasuhiro Kato, an associate professor of earth science at the University of Tokyo, July 5, 2011. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

Yasuhiro Kato, an associate professor at the University of Tokyo, gave no estimate of when extraction of the minerals from the seabed might start, but said the deposits may be 1,000 times those on land.

Here is a list of global reserves of rare earths confirmed by the U.S. Geological Survey in comparison with estimated reserves found by the Japanese scientists in the Pacific seabed.

Rare earth reserves on land (in metric tons):

China 55 mln

CIS 19 mln

U.S. 13 mln

Australia 1.6 mln

India 3.1 mln

Others 22 mln

Total 110 mln

Source: U.S. Geological Survey

Rare earth reserves in seabed: (in metric tons)

Pacific seabed 80-100 bln

Source: Estimate by Yasuhiro Kato, associate professor at Tokyo University

Reporting by Yuko Inoue; Editing by Joseph Radford

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