China's deep sea manned submersible Jiaolong on 2 January 2015 started exploration for the first time in the southwestern Indian Ocean. The submersible will search for active hydrothermal vent.
The Chinese vessel Jiaolong, named after a mythical dragon, during its 120-day expedition will dive in the ocean with an aim to collect sample of research polymetallic sulfides, biological diversity, hydrothermal microbes and genetic resources for research purposes.
Hydrothermal sulfide is a kind of sea-bed deposit containing copper, zinc and precious metals such as gold and silver.
China in 2012 gained approval to explore 10000 square kilometer of Indian Ocean for polymetallic sulphide ore deposit in an international seabed region of the southwest Indian Ocean. It secured a 15-year long approval from the International Seabed Authority (ISA).
Earlier in 2001, China obtained exclusive rights to prospect in a 75000-square-km polymetallic nodule ore deposit in the east Pacific Ocean.
What: began exploration
When: 2 January 2015