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China to boost deep-sea mining

Inspenet, March 16, 2023

China will step up efforts to join the race to extract critical minerals from the deep sea, China Daily reports.

The government document says China aims to catch up with the West in terms of research, technology and hardware for seabed mining, calling it “a new frontier for international competition.”

Ye Cong, of the Wuxi-based China Ship Scientific Research Center, a subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corp, extracts metals found in nodules on the seabed, mainly nickel, copper, cobalt and manganese, “will help us reduce the great dependence on foreign suppliers”.

Ye is a member of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a policy-making body, which was held last week. China Daily reports that the state-owned shipbuilding company is known for its deep-sea submersibles such as the Jiaolong (Sea Dragon) and Shenhai Yongshi (Deep Sea Warrior).

Last week, the United Nations agreed to the first High Seas Treaty after more than a decade of negotiations by member states. The treaty aims to reserve around 30% of the world’s international waters for conservation and provide rules for their exploitation.

Climate Change News reports that deep-sea mining is exempt from environmental impact assessment (EIA) regulations established under the UN treaty, which will remain under the purview of the International Seabed Authority.

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