South Koreans begin exploration on Tongan seafloor

21/04/2011

More than two dozen researchers from South Korea are spending the next four months collecting data from ocean beds within Tonga’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), thousands of metres below the ocean’s surface.<!--more-->

Along with an Environmental Impact Assessment the team will submit an evaluation report to the government at the end of the initial exploration. Tonga has been giving out exploration licences to world mining companies over the past few years.

Technical assessments at the end of such exploration helps determine the commercial viability of actual mining, Tonga’s Minister for Trade Lisiate ‘Akolo told <strong><span style="color: #000000;">Pacific Periscope </span></strong>in Nuku’alofa last week.

An interesting aspect of the South Korean project is that as much as it is an exploration mission, the onboard team will also look at the findings from the scientific angle, since much of the work will be done in hitherto unexplored areas.

“We are very keen to study the specific relationship between the deposits, underwater mineral vents and the ecosystem,” scientist Kyeong-Yong told the media.

The South Korean vessel also has on board Tongan staff, with which it will share newfound knowledge and information gleaned from the seabed.

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<address>Image: Radio Australia News</address> <address> </address>&nbsp;

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