A DEEP sea mining exploration team returns to Suva this weekend after 14 days at sea.
The team of 14 scientists on the Korea Ocean Research and Development Institute vessel Onnuri will return to Suva on Saturday after sailing out west of the Yasawa Island Group to the north Fiji basin last month for the Pacific's first seabed mining exploration.
KORDI Mineral South Pacific Limited director Jangwan Bang said work was delayed because of unfavourable weather but had since picked up and was on schedule. Led by geophysics Doctor Cheong Kee Park who is the principal research scientist at the Korea University, the team will spend the next two years locating active and inactive seafloor massive sulphide deposits in three key areas of Fiji's Exclusive Economic Zone.
Dr Park has 20 years experience in deep seabed minerals resources such as manganese nodule, manganese crusts and seafloor massive sulfide.
The six-year expedition, which cost KORDI $55.5 million, is the first of its kind for Fiji and the Pacific ahead of similar exploration plans by neighbouring island country Papua New Guinea. KORDI won the licence to explore Fiji's seabed for minerals and ore including gold, silver and cobalt, ahead of Canadian company Nautilus Mineral Incorporation who also bid for the licence.