Research and Development for Multi-stage and Integrated Approach for Seafloor Massive Sulfides (SMSs) Exploration.
Abstract:The seafloor hydrothermal systems and related mineral deposits had been discovered at more than 550 sites so for, and near the one-third of these sites were confirmed as the massive sulfide deposits (Hannington et al., 2011). However, we are now faced with the some task like the preservation of hydrothermal vent community and the secure of amount of mineral reserves for the commercialization. In Japan, the exploration and investigation researches in Japan’s EEZ has been conducted from 1980s, and about 20 seafloor hydrothermal fields including several confirmed SMSs has been discovered so far. The Cabinet Office of Government Japan (2013) have been promoting “assessment of the amount of reserves of known mineral deposits, discovery of new mineral deposits and comprehension of the approximate amount of reserves, development of equipment technologies and environmental impact assessment methods related to mining and lifting, including actual offshore tests”, expecting projects to be initiated aiming at commercialization with the participation of private companies in or after FY2023-FY2027. As part of the promotion, the “Cross-ministerial Strategic Innovation Promotion Program (SIP)” was started at FY2014 by the Cabinet Office of Government Japan, and the research project of “Next-generation technology for ocean resources exploration” is also ongoing (FY2014-FY2018). J-MARES(Research and Development Partnership for Next Generation Technology of Marine Resources Survey) is one of the private union participated the SIP organized four Inc.(JAPAX, JGI, NSENGI, and MMTEC) aimed at construction of “Multi-stage and integrated approach for SMSs exploration” through the development of upgradable and effectual geophysical exploration methods on seismic and electric-magnetic methods, and combination of the known exploration tools and systems.
In this presentation, we introduce some results obtained from two research cruise (JM14-01 and JM14-02) on the known seafloor hydrothermal fields. Especially, we conducted some test to raise operation efficiency for both towing EM system and vertical cable seismic (VCS) system. J-MARES also aims to develop and standardize multi-stage and integrated approach method for SMSs exploration combined geophysical and geomineralogical exploration methods.