West Pacific exploration gets initial OK

Updated: 2013-02-19 17:41

By Wang Qian (chinadaily.com.cn)

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China's application to explore cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts in the West Pacific Ocean in 2013 received an initial OK after evaluation by the Legal and Technical Commission under the International Seabed Authority in early February.

Jin Jiancai, secretary-general of the China Ocean Mineral Resources Research and Development Association, said the International Seabed Authority will make the final decision on whether to approve the application in July, China Mining newspaper reported on Feb 19.

He added China began exploring cobalt-rich ferromanganese resources in the 1990s, and an approval of the application will enhance the country's scientific acknowledgement and environment assessment capacity.

Cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts are composed of mineral resources such as manganese, cobalt, copper and rare earths, which are usually found on the flanks and summits of seamounts, 2,000 meters below sea level.

According to the research and development association, it applied to the International Seabed Authority, a United Nations body overseeing mining in international waters, to search an area of about 3,000 square kilometers in the West Pacific Ocean in July.

In the application, the association offers an equity interest in a joint venture arrangement with the authority to share at least 20 percent of its profits in the applied area in future exploration.