July 16, 2024

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C.China’s Hunan makes breakthroughs in equipment, technology for deep-sea mineral resource exploration

2 min read
World's first intelligent electric deep-sea heavy-duty mining vehicle platform Photo: Website of Hunan University

World’s first intelligent electric deep-sea heavy-duty mining vehicle platform Photo: Website of Hunan University

Through a major scientific project, Central China’s Hunan Province has made breakthroughs in key equipment and technology for deep-sea mineral resource exploration, some of which have filled international gaps. One highlight is the world’s first intelligent, electric, deep-sea heavy duty mining vehicle platform, according to media reports on Tuesday.

Focusing on the development of 3,000-6,000 meters deep-sea mineral resources, the research team of the project has overcome two key equipment technologies, including deep-sea mineral resources exploration equipment and equipment for collection and transportation, supported by three common technologies which cover digital simulation, an all-electric drive and intelligent control, according to Xinhua News Agency.

The project also developed a series of new equipment including multi-point mobile drilling and sampling equipment, making breakthroughs for 14 new technologies. The project has applied for 94 patents, 45 of which have been approved.

A key restriction for deep-sea mining is that some of the key equipment technologies remain underdeveloped, as deep-sea mining has a high standard for environmental protection, and existing mature land-based mining equipment cannot be used directly, according to media reports.

The high pressure and salinity of deep-sea water and the complexity of ocean currents also have a great impact on mineral exploration, mining, collection, transportation and other operations, posing a major challenge to the development of specialized deep-sea mining equipment.

The first phase of the project focused on key technology research and system prototype development, and field testing of some of the prototypes. The second phase focused on the integration test and demonstration of various systems and equipment for deep-sea mining, field testing of the whole system, and the creation of a full chain of products for deep-sea exploration, mining, collection and transmission, with the aim to ultimately realize the commercial exploitation of deep-sea mineral resources, according to the report.

The expert group for review and quality control said that the results of the project have improved the scientific and technological level of Hunan in the field of deep-sea mineral resources development, and are of great significance in promoting the development of this industry in China, according to Xinhua.

The project was jointly led by Hunan University and Changsha Research Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, with Ding Rongjun, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, as the project leader.

Global Times

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