Large rare earth deposit discovered in east China

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Geologists in east China's Zhejiang Province have discovered a huge rare earth deposit that has more than 70 tonnes of scandium, the local geological department said Wednesday.

The deposit in the province's northwest, was found after four years of geological survey, said Yang Xiaochun, chief engineer with Zhejiang No. 1 Geological Prospecting Team.

It is the first time that such a large scandium deposit has been found in Zhejiang Province, Yang said.

Scandium is one of 17 rare earth metals which are widely used in the manufacture of electronics and other high-tech products.

Besides scandium, geologists also found other precious metals and non-ferrous metals in the deposit, including 800 tonnes of silver, 130,000 tonnes of lead and zinc, and 3,000 tonnes of cadmium.

Substantial quantities of stannum, gallium and rhenium were also found in the deposit.

It is estimated that the metals in the deposit are worth more than 70 billion yuan (10.6 billion U.S. dollars), according to Yang.

"It is also the first time that such a variety of precious metals, non-ferrous metals and rare metals have been found in a single deposit in Zhejiang," Yang added.

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