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Japan Gearing Up for Potential ¥80 Trillion in Seabed Mining

Citation:世紀矿业信息网 Date:2016-8-12 15:55:23

Resource-hungry Japan is gearing up to mine a seabed up to 1,600 metres deep and as far as 1,500 km from Tokyo, and estimated to hold 50 million tonnes of ore. The countrys scientists have identified copper, gold and more, left over from the volcanic activity that created the archipelago millions of years ago. 


A government consortium will begin testing to determine the viability of such mining next year as new technologies make it more feasible. Canadas Nautilus Minerals Inc. is among the companies aiming to help the worlds third-largest economy reduce its dependence on imports.


Disruption of metal supplies may occur in the near future, said Tetsuro Urabe, a geologist who is director of the governments Next-Generation Technology for Ocean Resources Exploration Program. We dont want to be in a panic when we are confronted with a copper crisis. Unless we develop various kinds of new technology in advance, we wont be ready for launch when needed.


Volcanic activity in the Ring of Fire around Japan pushes up greater concentrations of minerals than those dug up on land. A Nautilus study estimates a cost of about US$70/t to extract ore containing 7% copper and 6 grams of gold.