China and the deep sea

On the one hand, you have China’s brand-spanking new Jialong submersible capable of reaching 7000 meters depth, 500 meters deeper than its nearest competitor, representing an amazing tool for unraveling the secrets of the wonderous deep.

On the other hand, you have China’s move to mine to sulphide deposits hydrothermal vents in international waters.

In a surprise move this May, China became the first country to apply for a contract area in international waters to prospect for massive sulphide ore. An agreement between Comra and the International Seabed Authority has yet to be approved. Its aim is “exploration not exploitation”, Liu said. China has no sulphide deposits in its waters and most of the likely sites are in international waters, along mid-ocean ridges.

Perhaps China can find better uses for their submersible and more interesting questions about the deep sea to explore instead of “Can we profit from it?”

via China seeks to mine deep sea riches | Science | Guardian Weekly.

Dr. M (1714 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, created to facilitate research to address fundamental questions in evolutionary science. He has conducted deep-sea research for 11 years and published over 40 papers in the area. He has participated in dozens of expeditions taking him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses mainly on marine systems and particularly the biology of body size, biodiversity, and energy flow. He focuses often on deep-sea systems as a natural test of the consequences of energy limitation on biological systems. He is the author and chief editor of Deep-Sea News, a popular deep-sea themed blog, rated the number one ocean blog on the web and winner of numerous awards. Craig’s popular writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

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