BEIJING — China has approved listing natural gas hydrate, or combustible ice, as the country’s 173rd mineral variety, a move that will speed up the exploitation of the clean energy source, an official said on Nov 16.
“China has succeeded in mineral prospecting and trial mining, both underwater and in the ground,” Ju Jianhua, head of the mineral reserves department of the Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR), said on Nov 16 at a news conference.
China completed a 60-day trial of combustible ice mining starting in May 2017 in the South China Sea, setting world records in both the length and total amount of extraction, according to the China Geological Survey Bureau.
The MLR filed an application in mid-October for the resource’s inclusion in the country’s mineral variety list with the State Council, China’s cabinet, which gave the approval on Nov 3, Ju said.
China first discovered combustible ice under the South China Sea in June 2007, and it found the mineral in the ground for the first time in November 2008 in the northwestern province of Qinghai.