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China Finds Undersea Gold Deposit Worth Billions

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China Finds Undersea Gold Deposit Worth Billions

undersea gold depositJust when you thought China's pursuit of gold couldn't get any more relentless, a fantastic discovery is made beneath the country's waters.

The largest-ever known undersea gold deposit has been confirmed beneath the East China Sea after three years of exploring, planning, drilling and excavating. The discovery was made earlier this month more than a mile below the sea at a location near Sanshan Island in the Shandong province.

Largest Undersea Gold Deposit

It is estimated that the newly confirmed undersea gold deposit contains 470 to 500 metric tonnes of gold. At current prices, that would exceed $16.3 billion alone. A bit further beneath the surface at 2 km below sea level, a total of 1,500 to 1,600 tonnes of gold are believed to be deposited.

gold_rigs_0 Underwater gold mining rigs. Source:

Zhang Junjin, who oversaw the entire project, offered a newfound appreciation of the necessity for better technology to effectively make good on such deep undersea gold deposits. "The discovery of a gold deposit lying 2,000 meters undersea provides the need for new drilling technology for future gold mining,” Zhang said.

The discovery beneath the East China Sea proved worth the time, but an enormous effort was expended in order to do so: 67 underwater drilling platforms were erected, more than a thousand geologists and other workers were employed in the three-year project, and approximately 120 km of drilling was conducted.

The drilling took place not far from Laizhou City, which is known for holding the richest gold deposits in China. Some estimates place its reserves at 2,000 tonnes. It's no surprise that domestic gold mining in China has accelerated consistently since the early 1990s.

More to Come?

gold-in-flask-wikimediaIn May earlier this year, China and India agreed to a cooperative effort to mine gold in the Indian Ocean. (The arrangement makes sense, given that China and India are the top two countries in gold consumption globally.) It is known that there is an incredible amount of gold contained in the ocean, but it is mostly in small flakes that can't be extracted in any efficient manner. Because the East China Sea discovery is a solid undersea gold deposit rather than dispersed gold dust or flakes, it offers unique mining prospects.


The opinions and forecasts herein are provided solely for informational purposes, and should not be used or construed as an offer, solicitation, or recommendation to buy or sell any product.

About the Author

Everett Millman

Everett Millman

Analyst, Commodities and Finance
Managing Editor

Everett has been the head content writer and market analyst at Gainesville Coins since 2013. He has a background in History and is deeply interested in how gold and silver have historically fit into the financial system.

In addition to blogging, Everett's work has been featured in CoinWeek, Advisor Perspectives, Wealth Management, Activist Post, and has been referenced by the Washington Post.

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