The survey follows earlier findings by Tokyo University professor Yasuhiro Kato, who took mud samples from the area in July last year. Kato has told media sources that he estimates that the deposit, located 5,600 meters beneath the seabed, could host enough dysprosium — used in lasers and commercial lighting — to satisfy Japanese domestic demand for the next 400 years.

Finding large-scale proven reserves inside Japan's exclusive economic zone would be a significant boost to Japanese industry, which currently relies primarily on REE imports from China.

Toyota issues fourth payment for stake in Canadian rare earth project

Toyotsu Rare Earth Canada, a subsidiary of Toyota Tsusho (TSE:8015), paid Matamec Explorations (TSXV:MAT) C$1.595 million — the fourth in a series of payments for its committed equity of a 49-percent undivided interest in the Kipawa heavy rare earth element (HREE) deposit. Matamec confirmed the payment last week.

As per the terms of the agreement, the Japanese-owned subsidiary paid C$8.5 million for a 25-percent undivided interest in July. In order to secure the remaining 24 percent, Matamec agreed to receive successive payments to reach the agreed upon total. The third payment was issued last month.

The company's press release notes that to date, Matamec has received C$12,155,019 of the maximum C$16 million for the completion of a definitive feasibility study on the deposit, which is expected in the second quarter of 2013.

Matamec's president and CEO, Andre Gauthier, said, “[t]he partnership with Toyotsu provides Matamec with the financial resources to continue in the execution of its long-term strategic plan to become a leading global rare earth company.”

Market round-up

Praseodymium/neodymium metal prices remained stable last week, but Chinese suppliers intend to increase offer prices in the near term, according to a report by Metal-Pages.

Market sources confirmed that prices for 99-percent praseodymium/neodymium metal are currently around $64,370 to $65,980 per tonne, while some suppliers have increased offer prices to as high as $69,200 per tonne.