Chinese submarine dives into Indian Ocean to hunt for gold

BEIJING: A Chinese submersible vessel has conducted its first deep dive in the Indian Ocean in search of rare metals. The project involves collecting samples of hydrothermal fluid and sulfide, a kind of seabed deposit containing copper, zinc and precious metals such as gold and silver.

The project, which involves exploring the Indian Ocean for 120 days, reflects China’s hunger for resources, and its long-term development plans, sources said. The vessel will also obtain samples of rocks, sediment and water from selected spots in the India Ocean.

Different metals become sulfides after chemical reactions and come to rest in the seabed in “chimney vents”, official Xinhua news agency said.

The mission’s chief scientist, Tao Chunhui, said diving in the submersible enables researchers to see active hydrothermal vent and polymetallic sulfide in seabed and study the environment in the sites from which samples are drawn. The information is important for China’s future research in the polymetallic sulfide exploration contract area, Tao said.