Tantalus Rare Earths, a German company specializing in the exploration of rare earths, said Tuesday it has come across what it believes to be important deposits in a region of Madagascar.
Tantalus Rare Earths said it believes it has found 130 million tonnes of lateritic clay that contains rare earths -- which are used in the production of high-tech products such as electric cars, wind turbines, flat screens and computer disk drives -- on the Ampasindava Peninsula in northwestern Madagascar.
"Mineralogical and process test works are still at an early stage. However, there are encouraging indications that the mineralized material has similarities with the ion absorption clays found in China," a statement said.
"These ion absorption clays are the world's largest source of the less commonly occurring and more highly priced 'heavy' rare earth oxides."
Tantalus Rare Earths estimates that world demand for rare earths will practically double by 2015 to 125,000 tonnes per year.
China currently produces around 95% of the world's rare earths but earlier this year it crimped supplies in what it said was a move to ensure its own supplies even as prices rose sharply as a result.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011