Japan Planning To Use Robots To Mine The Ocean Floor for everything from methane hydrate to gold

According to a recent media report, Japan plans to use deep-sea mining robots to exploit rare precious metals on the ocean floor around the island nation within a decade.

Yomiuri Shimbun said without naming sources that Japan-Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp (JOGMEC) plans to deploy the remote-controlled robots at depths of up to 6,600 feet.

The daily reported that experts believe that as some minerals become scarcer around the world, exploiting hard-to-reach underwater deposits and pumping them up to mother ships will become feasible.

Japan and its Asian high-tech rivals are trying to secure rare earths and other minerals needed for products from fuel-efficient hybrid cars and batteries to cellphones and LCD TVs.

According to the report, the project will focus on seabed volcanoes near the Izu and Ogasawara island chain, south of Tokyo, and the southwestern Okinawa islands.

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