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.