More than 200 million metric tons of manganese nodules rich in rare metals exist on the seabed near Minamitorishima, a remote Tokyo island, the Nippon Foundation and the University of Tokyo said Friday.

The nonprofit organization and the national university discovered a huge amount of the sea-bottom mineral concentrations that abundantly contain rare metals such as cobalt and nickel — both essential for lithium-ion batteries — in a survey that covered an area at depths of some 5,000 meters in the country's exclusive economic zone off the Pacific island.

The research team, led by Yasuhiro Kato, a professor at the university, estimates that there are 234 million metric tons of such nodules in the 100-square-kilometer survey area and that the amount of nickel in them is enough to support Japan's consumption for 75 years while the amount of cobalt is enough for around 11 years.