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Korea Institute of Ocean Science & Technology

Republic of Korea Develops Deposits Worth Five Trillion KRW at Thermal Vents in the Pacific

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  • Date : 2011-03-30
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Ice-breaking research vessel, the Araon, explores mineral resources in five Republic of Korea-exclusive mineral fields in Tongan waters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

□ The Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs (Minister: CHUNG Jong-hwan) announced that the country’s IBRV Araon and a remotely operated vehicle (ROV, or unmanned underwater vehicle) are exploring opportunities to develop hydrothermal deposits in five mineral fields exclusively assigned for exploration by Republic of Korea within Tonga’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the Southwestern Pacific. The mineral fields combined cover approximately 24,000 km2, or an area 2.4 times the size of Gyeonggi Province in Republic of Korea. The rights to exclusively explore four of the five mineral fields were secured back in March 2008.

 

 

 

 

 

○ On the seabed of an ocean as deep as 2,000 meters are numerous hydrothermal vents, or hot springs, from which heated fluids as hot as 400 °C gush out. Hydrothermal deposits are masses of minerals that form around thermal vents. They are rich in gold, silver, copper, zinc, and rare earth elements, making them recently of great interest around the world.

 

 

 

 

 

□ After acquiring the exclusive rights for exploration in the Tongan EEZ in 2008, the ministry established a team for the development of hydrothermal deposits and attracted 15 billion KRW in investments from five private sector companies?Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., Ltd (DSME), Samsung Heavy Industries Co., Ltd (SHI), SK Networks Co., Ltd, LS-Nikko Copper Inc., and POSCO. Three explorations have been conducted so far through which areas with mineral resources were confirmed and samples were collected.

 

 

 

 

 

 

□ On April 8, when the IBRV Araon is due to arrive at the Tongan port of Nuku Alofa, a ceremony will take place to celebrate the Araon’s arrival.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“In order to prospect deep seabed mineral resources, close cooperation with the Tongan government is essential,” says a ministry official, adding, “The launch ceremony will serve as an opportunity to further solidify the mutual trust between the two governments and make Republic of Korea’s capability to explore and extract seabed mineral resources widely known.”

 

 

“In order to prospect deep seabed mineral resources, close cooperation with the Tongan government is essential,” says a ministry official, adding, “The launch ceremony will serve as an opportunity to further solidify the mutual trust between the two governments and make Republic of Korea’s capability to explore and extract seabed mineral resources widely known.”

 

“In order to prospect deep seabed mineral resources, close cooperation with the Tongan government is essential,” says a ministry official, adding, “The launch ceremony will serve as an opportunity to further solidify the mutual trust between the two governments and make Republic of Korea’s capability to explore and extract seabed mineral resources widely known.”

 

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Last Update : 2019-11-19