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Evidence of hydrothermal mineral deposits were first noticed in 1948 during the Swedish Albatross oceanographic expedition in the Red Sea. This was followed by discoveries of metalliferous muds and brines in 1963-66 in the Red sea Rift system. These metalliferous muds contained large amounts of copper, zinc, lead, iron, silver and gold. These discoveries led to other similar searches for the same resources in other parts of the world oceans resulting in the discovery of several hydrothermal sites along the East Pacific Rise System, Galapagos Ridge, the Juan de Fuca and Gorda Ridges in the 70’s.
The Galapagos Rift was found to contain inactive mounds containing ore grade metals, some of them up to 35 m high chimneys. Sophisticated instrumentation like submersibles have led to several other discoveries since the Galapagos Rift discovery in 1981.
|Contractor||Contract Date||Expiration Date||Sponsoring State||Location||Contract|
|China Ocean Mineral Resources Research and Development Association||18 Nov 2011||17 Nov 2026||China||Southwest Indian Ridge||Public Information|
|Government of the Russian Federation||29 Oct 2012||28 Oct 2027||-||Mid-Atlantic Ridge|
|Government of the Republic of Korea||24 Jun 2014||23 Jun 2029||-||Central Indian Ridge||Public Information|
|Institut français de recherche pour l'exploitation de la mer||18 Nov 2014||17 Nov 2029||France||Mid-Atlantic Ridge||Public Information|
|Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources of the Federal Republic of Germany||06 May 2015||05 May 2030||Germany||Central Indian Ocean||Public Information|
|The Government of India||26 Sep 2016||25 Sep 2031||-||Central Indian Ocean||Public Information|
|Government of the Republic of Poland||12 Feb 2018||11 Feb 2033||-||Mid Atlantic Ridge||Public Information|