Resource-hungry China is stepping up activity in one of the final frontiers of mineral wealth – the remote seabeds lying kilometres beneath the Indian and Pacific oceans.
The world’s largest consumer and importer of minerals and metals is now studying the core technologies of seabed mining in the Indian Ocean, according to Tao Chunhui, one of the country’s leading oceanographers and a researcher at the State Oceanic Administration.
Vast sulphide deposits on the 3,000 metre deep seabed might contribute to China’s metal supplies in the long term as it tried to narrow the technological gap with other maritime powers, said Tao, who was chief scientist of a number of China’s Indian Ocean expeditions. The volcanically formed hydrothermal sulphides on the seabed contain copper, zinc and precious metals including gold and silver. They are formed in hot underground springs seeping through cracks in the seabed. Continue Reading →