Development of Polymetallic Nodules in the NE Equatorial Pacific: Past, Present and Future

심해저 망간단괴 개발의 현황과 미래

  • Chi, Sang Bum (Deep-sea and Seabed Mineral Resources Research Center, KIOST) ;
  • Hong, Sup (Korea Research Institute of Ships & Ocean Engineering, KIOST)
  • 지상범 (한국해양과학기술원 심해저광물자원연구센터) ;
  • 홍섭 (한국해양과학기술원 부설 선박해양플랜트연구소)
  • Published : 2014.12.30


In early 1990s, the Korean government has launched a deep-sea research program to secure the stable long-term supply of strategic metallic minerals including Cr, Cu and Ni. Through the pioneering surveys, Korea registered $150,000km^2$ of Mn-nodule field in the Clarion-Clipperton area, the NE equatorial Pacific to the international sea-bed authority (ISA) in 1994. Following the ISA exploration code, the final exclusive exploration area of $75,000km^2$ was assigned in 2002, based on results of eight-year researches of chemico-physical properties of nodules, bottom profiles and sediment properties. Since that time, environmental studies, mining technical developments including robot miner and lifting system and establishment of smelting systems were accompanied with the detailed geophysical studies to decipher the priori mining area until 2009. Major points of the recent Korea Mn-nodule program are deployed on a commercial scale until 2015. In order to meet the goals, we developed a 1/5 scaled robot miner compared to commercial one in 2012 and performed a mining test at the water depth of 1,370 m in 2013. In addition, detailed 25,000 scaled mining maps in the priori area, which can provide operation roots of the miner, will be prepared and an environmental-friendly mining strategy will be pursued based on the environmental impact test and environmental monitoring.


Mn-nodule;C-C zone;KODOS program;robot miner;mining test


Grant : 태평양 심해저 광물자원개발

Supported by : 해양수산부

Cited by

  1. Risk-based Design of On-board Facility for Lifting System Field Test of Deep-sea Mining System vol.30, pp.6, 2016,