Full of treasure

Sunday 31 May 1998

Geologists have discovered huge deposits of gold, silver, copper and zinc in the Manus Basin, part of the Bismarck Sea to the northeast of Papua New Guinea. These minerals were found while they were studying the formation of metal ores on the seafloor. A team led by Ray Binns of the Division of Exploration and Mining of the CSIRO, Australia's national research body, collected 83 samples from the seafloor. One of the deposits has got an average of 15 grams of gold, 200 grams of silver per tonne and 26 per cent by weight of zinc. The deposits that are in relatively shallow water -- about 1200 to 1700 metres below the surface -- were formed by underwater volcanic springs that eject superheated clouds of fine mineral particles ( New Scientist , Vol 157, No 2116).

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