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High Efficiency Rare Elements Extraction Technology Area


The supply of rare metals on which Japan's high-tech products depend, is confronted by supply deficits and price increases caused by a dramatic global increase in demand and export restrictions implemented by resource exporting countries.
On the other hand, Japan has large amounts of waste material ('urban mines') which includes vast amounts of useful metals.
Securing rare metals through collecting and recycling (metal cycling) of these 'urban mines' is an important element determining the superiority of Japan's high-tech products. Therefore, with Tohoku University at its hub we will establish the 'science of metal cycles' integrating the knowledge from the areas of the 'extraction and separation' area, the field of quantum chemistry, as well as reaction analysis, and aim for its application in the collecting and recycling of rare metals from urban mines.


  • This project creates basic technology for fragmentation and dismantling, and physically selecting and separating small parts of disposed electronic devices. For this purpose, this project engages in basic research regarding new dismantling methods, and sensing and selection technology of usable metals that include fragmented material.
  • This project establishes a basic technology in new refining methods for extracting usable materials from separated fragmented material. For this purpose, this project conducts basic research on extraction technologies that use molten-salt and ionic liquid.
  • This project conducts basic research on the halogenation processing for handling important heavy metals throughout the recycling process and engages in research on the practical application of these technologies.
  • In support of research on the above issues, this project conducts research on technologies disaggregating ionic liquid and molten-salt structures, basic research on analytic technologies for rare metal separation as well as simulations that uses large-scale computing.

This research proceeds according to schedule below.



  • High Voltage Pulse Selectivity Crushing Equipment
  • Minute Analysis X-ray Diffraction System
  • High Temperature NMR Analysis System
  • Inductive Coupling Plasma Mass Spectrometry Device
  • High Temperature Generated Gas Analysis System