AN environmental impact assessment and sample drilling are among activities marked for Fiji's Exclusive Economic Zone at the end of a six-year seafloor massive sulfide exploration expedition.
And depending on the depth at which ore is found beneath the seabed, extraction for commercial purposes will pose little danger to the environment compared to that of oil or gas mining where excavation is warranted, director of the Korea Ocean Research and Development Institute Mineral South Pacific Limited Jang Wan Bang said.
He made the comment yesterday as the KORDI exploration vessel Onnuri returns to Suva this weekend marking the end of a seabed mapping exercise for one of the three key areas of seafloor massive sulfide exploration in the north Basin of Fiji's EEZ. Mr Bang said site drilling for ore body and test smelting are activities set out for 2016 onwards.
Smelting, according to free online encyclopaedia Wikipedia, is a form of extractive metallurgy to produce a metal from its ore.
The 14 members of the exploration team which left Suva harbour on the Onnuri on April 20 will return to Suva today. KORDI's six- year licence for seafloor massive sulfide exploration will recommence with mapping of the seabed of the second area in Fiji's north basin in November.