ABSTRACT:

Kuroko-type seafloor massive sulfides including gold, silver, copper, zinc, and lead exist in the EEZs of the Pacific island countries. The ones in Japan's EEZ are expected to be the largest and very much attractive for the future resources. However, there are many problems to be solved for the commercial development. The effective method for finding ore bodies in the survey on seafloor and the location and method of the ore selection are the examples of the problems. A fundamental study of ultra-violet fluorescence sensing indicates the possibilities of applications on seafloor. The time, energy, and cost saving effects of the earlier ore selection are considered.

INTRODUCTION

Kuroko-type seafloor massive sulfides (SMS) in the western Pacific have received much attention as resources for gold, silver, copper, zinc, and lead (Lenoble, 2000). Since the end of the 1980s, the Kuroko-type SMS have been found in the back-arc basin and on oceanic island-arc areas. The typical representatives found are in the Okinawa Trough and on the Izu-Ogasawara Arc near Japan (Halbach et al., 1989; Iizasa et al., 1999), in the Lau Basin and the North Fiji Basin near Fiji (Fouquet et al., 1991; Bendel et al., 1993), and in the East Manus Basin near Papua New Guinea (PNG) (Kia and Lasark, 1999). The company gathered investment money and announced to start the commercial mining from 2010 (http://www.nautilusminerals.com). On the basis of geological information of the Sunrise Deposit of the Myojin Knoll on the Izu-Ogasawara Arc (Iizasa et al., 1999) and geotechnical characteristics of the Kuroko-type SMS (Yamazaki and Park, 2003), some preliminary economic validation analyses of the SMS mining in small production scale were reported by one of the authors (Yamazaki et al., 2003; Yamazaki and Park., 2005; Yamazaki 2007). The results showed high profitability of the SMS mining.

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