ABSTRACT:

China has begun the project of manganese nodules mining since 1991. Preliminary researches have been carried out by several institutes and universities. Two miners with one hydraulic-mechanic collector and one hydraulic collC1;tor each have been proven to function well. Both of the miners were tested by telemetry and telecontrol with artificial nodules and sediment imitation. Hydraulic lifting and air lining were also tried by use of 30 meter high vertical pipestring in two laboratories. Jet pumping, slurry pumping and clear water pumping were examined in small scale. Along with new Five-Year Plan started in 1996. China begins her second stage of the manganese nodules mining program. An overview of future researches is given in this paper. Because of high risk and cost, international cooperation for deep sea mining is highly envisaged. All partners will benefit in such work.

Introduction

China began its national project of manganese nodules exploration and exploitation comprehensively in 1990. Afterwards China registered as pioneer investor at Sea Bed Authority of UN in 1991 after extensive survey of nearly ten years. Before 1990 researches and cruises were organized and coordinated by State Ocean Administration and The Ministry of Geology and Mineral Resources. Then China Ocean Mineral Resources Association(COMRA) hold leading position in administration of this national project. A lot of research achievements have been made during last five years. During " Eighth Five-Year Plan" COMRA invested a large portion of its research funding into the exploration of manganese nodule resources in Chinese pioneer investor area which is located in Clarion-Clippton Fracture Zone with roughly about latitude 6°-16°N and longitude 11000-I600W. Main tasks of those cruises were: bathymetry, geological sampling sea bottom photographing, multibeam profiling. sedimentalonogic investigation sediments distribution. Hydrology, meteorology, biological survey etc. Mining technology of manganese nodules was in the scale of laboratory testing.

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