Indian ocean. Photograph:( PTI )
China's unmanned submersible Qianlong 2 has found polymetallic sulphide deposits in the sea bed of western Indian Ocean after operating for 257 hours in nine separate underwater missions and covering 654 km of the water body, a state-run media reported here today.
Chinese research vessel Xiangyanghong 10 reached Zhoushan in East China's Zhejiang province on Sunday after 250 days in the Indian Ocean, where Chinese scientists surveyed the distribution of polymetallic sulphide for the first time, covering southwest and northwest region of the water body.
The autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) operated for 257 hours in nine separate underwater missions and covered 654 km, the Global Times quoted from the statement of China's Ministry of Natural Resources.
The AUV discovered polymetallic sulphide, a mineral resource produced from seafloor hydrothermal activities, the report said.
Deep seabed polymetallic sulphide contains iron, copper, zinc, silver, gold and platinum in variable constitutions and have attracted worldwide attention for their long term commercial as well as strategic values.
Qianlong 2 discovered three mineralisation zones of polymetallic sulphide, the report said.
In 2011, China had entered into a deal with the International Seabed Authority for a polymetallic sulphide exploration area of 10,000 sq km in the Indian Ocean for 15 years.
Since then it has been sending periodic expedition to locate polymetallic sulphide in the sea bed.
China also plans to put three satellites to improve maritime research, the report said.
In the past five years, China has expanded its international seabed mining scope to 86,000 square km.