Japan has announced the successful excavation of rare metals from the seabed of its exclusive economic zone, including battery critical materials cobalt and nickel.
The Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC), commissioned by the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry, excavated about 650kg of cobalt-rich crust in July, according to the country’s news outlet The Japan News.
JOGMEC reported it had discovered enough cobalt to meet Japan’s demand for about 88 years and enough nickel for about 12 years at the seabed-mining site about 900 meters below sea level, off the southern coast of the Pacific island of Minami-Torishima.
The discovery could be the answer to the country’s domestic rare metal production concerns as the nation is dependent on China for essential lithium-ion battery production materials.
The ministry plans to inspect the drilling technology with the goal of introducing mass production, reported The Japan News.
Companies are chasing a stable cobalt supply that would side-step the need to source the material from the Democratic Republic of the Congo where there are humanitarian concern over its mining.