China has made its first subsea gold discovery with the location of a multi-billion-dollar gold deposit in the water of the Bohai Sea.
The deposit is estimated to contain over 470 tons of gold in 2,000 meters of water. Mining operations will be conducted by Laizhou Rehi Mining.
At current prices, the gold would be worth around $16 billion.
Recovering the gold will be challenging for the nation and could require more than 1,000 people working simultaneously, reports China Daily. “It’s no easier than the docking of a space ship,” said Zhang Junjin, program manager for the three-year exploration project at Shandong Third Institute of Geological and Mineral Exploration.
The World Gold Council’s 2014 report China's gold market: progress and prospects suggests that private sector demand for gold in China is set to increase to at least 1,350 tons by 2017. China became the world’s largest gold market in 2013.
The next six years will see China’s middle class grow by over 60 percent, or 200 million people, to a total of 500 million. Comparing this to the total population of the U.S., which stands at 319 million, demonstrates the size of this growing market of affluent consumers.
In addition to these newly emerging middle classes, rising incomes, a deepening pool of private savings and rapid urbanisation across China suggest that the outlook for gold jewellery and investment demand in the next few years will remain strong.
Gold production 438.2 tons/year 2013 - Rank: 1
Gold consumption 1,214.6 tons/year 2013 - Rank: 1
Central bank holdings 1,054.1 tons 2013 - Rank: 5
The World Gold Council notes that all of the gold ever mined would fit into a crate of 21 metres cubed.