Econ. Environ. Geol. 2013; 46(6): 569-580

Published online December 31, 2013

© THE KOREAN SOCIETY OF ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL GEOLOGY

Geophysical and Geological Exploration of Cobalt-rich Ferromanganese Crusts on a Seamount in the Western Pacific

Jonguk Kim*, Young-Tak Ko, Kiseong Hyeong and Jai-Woon Moon

Deep-sea and Seabed Resources Research Division, KIOST, 787, Haeanro, Ansan 426-744, Korea

Correspondence to : jukim@kiost.ac

Received: September 9, 2013; Revised: November 2, 2013; Accepted: December 5, 2013

Abstract

Co-rich ferromanganese crusts (Fe-Mn crusts) distributed on the seamounts in the western Pacific are potential economic resources for cobalt, nickel, platinum, and other rare metals in the future. Regulations for prospecting and exploration of Fe-Mn crusts in the Area, which enables the process to obtain an exclusive exploration right for blocks of the fixed size, were enacted recently by the International Seabed Authority, which led to public attention on its potential for commercial development. Evaluation and selection of a mining site can be established based on abundance and grade of Fe-Mn crusts in the site as well as topography that should be smooth enough for mining efficiency. Therefore, acquisition of shipboard echo-sounding and acoustic backscatter data are prerequisite to select potential mine sites in addition to visual and sampling operations. Acoustic backscatter data can be used to locate crust-covered areas in a regional scale with the understanding of acoustic properties of crust through its correlation with visual and sampling data. KIOST had collected the topographic and geologic data to assess the resources potential for Fe-Mn crusts in the west Pacific region from 1994 to 2001. However, they could not obtain acoustic backscatter data that is crucial for the selection of prospective mining sites. Therefore, additional exploration surveys are required to carry out side scan sonar mapping combined with seafloor observation and sampling to decide the blocks for application of an exclusive exploration right.

Keywords ferromanganese crust, seamount, guyot, exploration, western Pacific

Article

Econ. Environ. Geol. 2013; 46(6): 569-580

Published online December 31, 2013

Copyright © THE KOREAN SOCIETY OF ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL GEOLOGY.

Geophysical and Geological Exploration of Cobalt-rich Ferromanganese Crusts on a Seamount in the Western Pacific

Jonguk Kim*, Young-Tak Ko, Kiseong Hyeong and Jai-Woon Moon

Deep-sea and Seabed Resources Research Division, KIOST, 787, Haeanro, Ansan 426-744, Korea

Correspondence to:jukim@kiost.ac

Received: September 9, 2013; Revised: November 2, 2013; Accepted: December 5, 2013

Abstract

Co-rich ferromanganese crusts (Fe-Mn crusts) distributed on the seamounts in the western Pacific are potential economic resources for cobalt, nickel, platinum, and other rare metals in the future. Regulations for prospecting and exploration of Fe-Mn crusts in the Area, which enables the process to obtain an exclusive exploration right for blocks of the fixed size, were enacted recently by the International Seabed Authority, which led to public attention on its potential for commercial development. Evaluation and selection of a mining site can be established based on abundance and grade of Fe-Mn crusts in the site as well as topography that should be smooth enough for mining efficiency. Therefore, acquisition of shipboard echo-sounding and acoustic backscatter data are prerequisite to select potential mine sites in addition to visual and sampling operations. Acoustic backscatter data can be used to locate crust-covered areas in a regional scale with the understanding of acoustic properties of crust through its correlation with visual and sampling data. KIOST had collected the topographic and geologic data to assess the resources potential for Fe-Mn crusts in the west Pacific region from 1994 to 2001. However, they could not obtain acoustic backscatter data that is crucial for the selection of prospective mining sites. Therefore, additional exploration surveys are required to carry out side scan sonar mapping combined with seafloor observation and sampling to decide the blocks for application of an exclusive exploration right.

Keywords ferromanganese crust, seamount, guyot, exploration, western Pacific

    KSEEG
    Apr 30, 2024 Vol.57 No.2, pp. 107~280

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