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G-7 eyes joint effort to turn e-waste into rare earths, other metals

Advanced economies look inward to shake dependence on imports from China

Rare metals contained in electronic waste, like used computers and smartphones, are seen as a potential alternative to imports from producers like China. (Photo obtained by Nikkei)

TOKYO -- Group of Seven major economies are bolstering cooperation on urban mining, a process that turns electronic waste into a source of rare-earth elements and other industrially important rare metals as they seek to reduce dependence on major producers like China.

During a trip to Washington in January, Yasutoshi Nishimura, Japan's minister for economy, trade and industry, called for a new "network" for recycling rare metals with U.S. and Europe. Japan aims to set up a working group to promote cooperation on extracting the materials when it hosts the G-7 summit in May.

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