China gets fifth license to explore ocean floor minerals in international waters

By Xu Keyue Source:Global Times Published: 2019/7/18 19:09:12

China has been granted its fifth license to an exclusive exploration area for polymetallic nodules in the West Pacific Ocean, which is closer to home than the other four areas. 

The International Seabed Authority (ISA) granted approval Monday to Beijing Pioneer Hi-Tech Development Corporation's plan to explore for polymetallic nodules at the 25th Session of the ISA in Kingston, Jamaica, China's Ministry of Natural Resources announced. The 74,000-square-kilometer area is located in international waters of the West Pacific Ocean.

Polymetallic nodules contain nickel, copper, cobalt and manganese, which are subject of increasing interest with the rise of green energy technologies required for a low-carbon future, according to the website of ISA. 

A director of the company surnamed Chen told the Global Times on Thursday that they plan to start mining the area between 2030 and 2035. 

Before mining begins the company needs to develop the mining equipment, launch a geographic investigation and test the equipment in the area, Chen said.

China began exploring the seabed in the 1970s. It won the right to search for polymetallic nodules in the East Pacific Ocean in 2001, for polymetallic sulfide deposits in the southwestern Indian Ocean in 2011, for cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts in the West Pacific in 2013, and for polymetallic nodules in the East Pacific in 2015.

Newspaper headline: Ocean mining license issued

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