Fortunately, researchers in Japan have discovered vast amounts of rare earth-rich mud in the Pacific Ocean. This discovery could keep prices of rare earth metals in check. The research group, led by Yasuhiro Kato, associate processor at the University of Tokyo's Graduate School of Engineering, found that the amount of rare earth metals in sample areas of the Pacific Ocean is approximately 1,000 times more than the amount that exists on land.
The newly-found rare earth-rich mud is unique in that it hardly contains any radioactive elements and, despite being some 11,500 feet below the water's surface, is claimed to be easy to mine using existing technologies. However, there seems to be one issue: the rare earth-rich mud is in international waters, which means that any country interested in mining the area will need to gain approval from the International Seabed Authority. Hat tip to David!
[Source: Tech On]