◎ Reporter of this newspaper Guo Guozhong

The deep sea is a treasure trove of strategic resources for human development, an important field for scientific development, and the main battlefield for safeguarding national maritime rights and interests, which is related to the fate of the country and the status of a major country. This year's government work report proposes to formulate and implement a national marine strategy, safeguard national maritime rights and interests, protect the marine ecological environment, expand blue economic space, and build a maritime power.

In the face of a new period of strategic opportunity, how to target the frontier of the deep sea and promote the high-level self-reliance and self-improvement of marine technology? A reporter from Science and Technology Daily recently interviewed Ye Cong, deputy director of the China Ship Science Research Center, and Hu Zhen, researcher of the China Ship Science Research Center, on related issues.

The security situation of China's mineral resources is grim

"China's key mineral resources are highly dependent on foreign countries, and the resource security situation is grim. The new energy industry has become a strategic highland to guide the high-quality development of China's national economy and an important support for improving the international competitiveness of China's industry, and the self-sufficiency of key metals is insufficient, making the security situation of mineral resources more severe. Ye Cong said.

In Ye Cong's view, with the implementation of the strategy of maritime power and the development of new energy industry, the country's demand for deep-sea space security, resource security and environmental security is increasing, and the research on deep-sea mineral development equipment technology is particularly urgent.

"Over the past 10 years, in the implementation of the national marine strategy, China has focused on key technology research in the field of deep-sea equipment and technology, carried out a series of difficult sea trials, and made a series of major breakthroughs in application." Hu Zhen introduced, but it should also be noted that the development trend of deep-sea equipment in the world has been expanded from functional requirements to five dimensions, including "from surface to underwater, short-term to long-term, small power to high power, small load to large load, and point domain to large area", and realized three major leaps in equipment and operation technology: "from small equipment to large equipment, surface control unmanned equipment operation to deep-sea manned equipment and intelligent unmanned equipment integration operation, single single system operation to cluster intelligent collaborative operation".

Ye Cong introduced that the trend of international seabed deep-sea mineral exploration to the stage of commercial development is obvious. The International Seabed Authority is expected to issue the Mining Regulations and open applications for mining licences in the second half of 2023. Developed countries and regions in Europe and the United States have mastered the key technologies and manufacturing capabilities of core equipment for deep-sea mineral development, such as Canada's TMC Company has carried out mining in-situ tests in the 2022,10-meter deep sea in October 4300, and plans to achieve 2025 million tons/year of full commercial mining in <>, but China has no systematic plan for commercial mining.

For China to build a maritime power, these new challenges have given scientific and technological workers higher requirements and missions of the times.

Many deep-sea equipment technologies urgently need breakthroughs

"At present, China lacks mature and safe technical reserves in underwater perception, Internet of Things, large water depth risers, etc., and there is still a big gap from the formation of commercial mining capacity. There are many factors involved in this. Ye Cong said that China is facing the risk of losing the priority development rights and interests of resources in corresponding mining areas due to insufficient technical reserves.

Ye Cong believes that under the current situation of accelerating the layout of deep-sea mineral development in the world, China should seize the historical opportunity to strive for the first-mover advantage of the deep sea from a global perspective, focus on the practical needs of the three strategic directions of security guarantee, scientific research and resource development, build a world-leading technology and equipment system for the development and utilization of deep-sea mineral resources, ensure the self-sufficiency of China's strategic resources, and lead China's deep-sea technological change, manufacturing upgrading and emerging industry development.

Hu Zhen proposed that at the current stage of China's development facing new strategic opportunities, China should accelerate the implementation of the deep-sea space station project and occupy the commanding heights of deep-sea general equipment and common technologies; Set up a national platform in the field of deep-sea equipment technology to drive and promote the systematic development of technology in the deep-sea field, coordinate basic research in the deep-sea field, improve the level of basic research, and promote marine technology to achieve a high level of self-reliance and self-improvement.

Ye Cong suggested that the management system for the development of deep-sea technology should be improved, and the top-level design of the development of deep-sea mining equipment technology should be strengthened; Strengthen independent innovation in deep-sea equipment technology, and focus on breakthroughs in the development of weak core system equipment; Systematically promote deep-sea mineral development activities and accelerate the formation of large-scale mining capabilities. (Science and Technology Daily)