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.