Yokohama Marine Mining uses the latest undersea robotics and unmanned submarines available. We have developed pioneering tools and procedures that we believe give Yokohama Marine Mining an advantage in locating and extracting these resources.
Our unmanned submarines are used to map the ocean floor, identifying target sites for mining. We use our robots to identify and break up specific mineral deposits. Vacuum pumps are then used to raise the sediment to our vessels on the surface, where we are then able to process the sediment, extracting the rare earth minerals from the waste sediment. Waste water is then pumped back to the sea floor, to areas away from the hydrothermal vents in order to minimize any environmental damage.
Yokohama Marine Mining has conducted a series of assessments and trial mining operations throughout the Okinawa Trough and Izu Islands. We aim to commence our first commercial extraction before the end of the third quarter of 2016. It is our expectation that we will be able to extract, process and deliver over 4,000 tons of rare earth metals to the market each year from 2018 onwards, with significant potential for growth.
Having migrated to commercial extraction the Okinawa Trough and Izu Islands locations, Yokohama Marine Mining will expand our exploration of other locations in the Pacific Ocean. Yokohama Marine Mining’s geologists have already undertaken exploration of over 100 locations across the Pacific Ocean which estimated that more than 100 billion tons of rare earth minerals are available in the sediment on the ocean floor.