Industrial deep-sea mining in China can begin as early as 2030, stated the former head of the State Oceanic Administration.
China Daily quoted Sun Zhihui as saying: “With the improvement in deep-sea technology, metal resources under the ocean can be explored and mined within 20 years.”
China was among the first group of countries which gained authorization from International Seabed Authority to look for polymetallic sulphide deposits in the ocean.
According to Sun, the country already explored more than 80,000 square kilometers of the floor of the Pacific and Indian oceans.
Xiang Jianhai, scientist at the Institute of Oceanology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that the current research will provide the technology and geological information for future mining.
Scientists estimate that about 480 million to 13.5 billion tons of polymetallic nodules can be commercially mined, Science and Technology Daily reported.
Polymetallic nodules on the seabed contain metals such as cobalt, manganese, iron, nickel and aluminum, which have huge economic potential.
Improving the legal system relating to deep-sea mining and exploration was the key work of the State Oceanic Administration, Liu Cigui, administration director, said at the administration’s annual convention in December.
The total output value of China’s marine-based sectors was 3.2 trillion yuan ($508 billion) in 2009, accounting for 9.5 percent of the state’s GDP, according to the administration’s website.
Subsea World News Staff , May 29, 2012