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Chinese submarine searches Indian Ocean for gold, other metals

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A submarine of the Chinese navy’s North Sea Fleet prepares to dive into the sea.

A Chinese submarine has conducted its first deep dive in the Indian Ocean in search of various kinds of metals, including gold, in a four-month-long mission.

The submersible vessel called Jiaolong carried out its first dive on Friday to collect samples of hydrothermal fluid and sulfide, a kind of seabed deposit containing copper, zinc and precious metals such as gold and silver.

Samples of rocks, sediment and water will also be gathered from the ocean floor during the expedition.

The project enables researchers to see active hydrothermal vent and polymetallic sulfide in seabed and examine the environment in selected sites, the mission’s top scientist, Tao Chunhui, said.

The data will play a significant role in China’s future research on polymetallic sulfide, Tao added.

Last year, Jiaolong conducted a 52-day scientific journey in the northwest Pacific Ocean until August. During the mission, it collected 116 biological samples, 22 rock samples, 100 kilograms of cobalt-rich crust and 24 100 kilograms of polymetallic crust samples, as well as 1,232 liters of water from the ocean.

China has also tested a remote-controlled underwater vehicle, Longzhu.


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