This paper discusses the state of the art of deep sea mining technology in China. The research and development of deep sea mining technology in China started from the polymetallic nodules mining. A pilot mining system, which consists of a self-propelled collector, hydraulic pipe lift and a surface vessel, has been developed. In 2001, a lake mining trial was conducted in the pilot system, through which artificial nodules lying on the floor of lake were collected by the collector and then transported up to the surface vessel by a flexible hose subsystem. The lake mining trial confirmed the maneuverability and controllability of the self-propelled collector, the efficiency of the hydraulic pick-up device, and the feasibility of lifting system with flexible hose. In addition, some research has been conducted on the cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts mining techniques such as the methods of in situ fragmentation and separation of crusts from the substrate rock, and the technique of crust mining using the robotic seabed vehicles. During the past decade, China has enhanced the research on key techniques of deep sea mining system. Some new laboratories and facilities have been constructed, including a miner test laboratory with a 50 mx50 mx5 m basin, a lifting test setup which can carry out circular lifting test and one way transporting test, and a computer simulation research laboratory which can partially test some boundary conditions and demonstrate simulation results. China has further planned to investigate the techniques of deep sea mining for polymetallic sulphide, to develop the facilities for the application, and to assess the economic feasibility of the deep sea mining development. We will continue to explore the new deep sea mining methods and technologies.

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