THE Korean Ocean Research and Development Institute (KORDI) will launch its exploration for deep sea minerals in Fiji's Exclusive Economic Zone today.
KORDI was granted a six-year mineral exploration licence last November and is expected to invest $55.5million to explore Seafloor Massive Sulphides (SMS) in the north west area of Fiji's EEZ.
A Korean Embassy statement said SMS deposits, between 500 metres and 3000 metres in the seabed, are expected to contain metals like gold, silver, copper or zinc among others.
The statement said the exploration would be conducted in three phases with phase one expected to involve locating active and inactive SMS deposits.
"Phase two (2014-2015) includes identifying the subsurface structure and test drilling of prospective areas," the statement said.
"In phase three (2016-2017), resources potential will be appraised for commercial extraction."
The research vessel Onnuri will initially carry out exploration for 15 days in the sea off the western coast of Fiji with all costs related to exploration funded by Korea's Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs and a consortium of Korean companies.
The launch ceremony will be held on the deck of the Onnuri.