I’m always curious about things I don’t know. That’s why when I come across an article that is full of strange words I read it. Here’s an example: The Japanese say they have found a “semi-infinite” deposit of rare earth minerals, enough to supply the world for centuries to come. So what are these minerals? One is yttrium, used in the making of microwave filters for radar and as an additive in alloys, increasing the strength of aluminum for example. Another is dysprosium, which is very good at absorbing neutrons and therefore used to make the control rods for nuclear reactors. Another is europium, which is used as a doping agent to alter the electrical or optical properties of a substance such as some types of glass in lasers and other optoelectronic devices. Another is terbium, used in low-energy lightbulbs and mercury lamps and to dope other substances used in solid state devices. In simple terms, these rare earth elements are used extensively in technology such as smartphones, rechargeable batteries, display panels, electric and hybrid cars. This find is wonderful for Japan, long a major manufacturer of electronics, which has been at the mercy of the world’s largest rare elements producer, China. Now the Japanese just have to go get the stuff which happens to be about 6,000 metres under the sea near Japan. They say they’ll use a hydrocyclone separator, and no, I’ve never heard of that either.
That’s Coffeetalk. I’m Vic Dubois.