China's deep-sea heavy-duty mining vehicle reaches record sea depth

China's deep-sea heavy-duty mining vehicle reaches record sea depth
Photo credit: CMG

China's deep-sea heavy-duty mining vehicle has completed a sea trial at a depth exceeding 4,000 meters, marking a significant breakthrough in the country's deep-sea mineral resource development technology, CGTN reported.

The trial was conducted by Pioneer II, an engineering prototype developed independently by Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU), the Shanghai municipal government said on Tuesday.

Pioneer II completed five diving and seabed mining operations, including a record-breaking dive to 4,102.8 meters, marking the first time a Chinese deep-sea heavy-duty mining vehicle conducted trial operations at depths exceeding 4,000 meters.

It completed one dive per day for five consecutive days from June 22 to 26 in the western Pacific Ocean, successfully obtaining over 200 kilograms of various deep-sea mineral samples, said Yang Jianmin, chair professor at SJTU and chief scientist of Pioneer II.

The mining vehicle has pioneered several innovations in the country, including high-mobility deep-sea navigation over complex seabed terrains and composite drilling and mining of multiple types of deep-sea minerals.

Yang said that while deep-sea mineral resources are generally found at depths ranging from 2,000 to 6,000 meters, the trial indicated that Pioneer II can almost reach the depths required for seabed mining.

Several prominent experts, including Lin Zhongqin and Li Jiabiao, both academicians at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, and Li Maolin, director of a national key laboratory of deep-sea mineral resources, hailed the success of the sea trial as another solid step forward for China's deep sea exploration.

According to the experts, it signifies that China will receive more technical and equipment support for deep-sea scientific research, resource exploration and environmental preservation.

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