Korea and Japan  have expressed interest in research and exploration of Benham Rise, a mineral resource-rich underwater volcanic ridge located in the Philippine Sea 250 km east of the northern coastline of Dinapigue, Isabela.

According to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), they are hopeful that they could undertake a vital resource mapping over Benham Rise with Japan and Korea.

Carlos Primo David, executive director of the DOST’s Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technologies Research and Development, said Benham Rise has attracted the interest of experts from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) and Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST) to collaborate in conducting the survey.

He said that JAMSTEC would like to do a survey using its ¥6-billion submarine research project.

During previous explorations in the deep sea between Japan and the Philippines, the agency   uncovered methane hydrate, polymetallic minerals, hydrothermal deposits, rare earth elements and valuable manganese nodules.

The Benham Plateau, also known as the Benham Rise, is a seismically active undersea region and extinct volcanic ridge located in the Philippine Sea approximately 250 km east of the northern coastline of Dinapigue, Isabela. Image source: Google Maps
The Benham Plateau, also known as the Benham Rise, is a seismically active undersea region and an extinct volcanic ridge located in the Philippine Sea approximately 250 km east of the northern coastline of Dinapigue, Isabela. Image source: Google Maps

David also said that instead of buying an expensive remote-controlled underwater vehicle for resource mapping, JAMSTEC had advised the DOST to just collaborate with them or rent their equipment.

In an interview, David said, “combining a (resource) exploration with scientific research might enable the Philippine government to get assistance from Japan and Korea for free.”

He said any information that Japan and Korea could get from Benham Rise research would help both countries understand their own areas prone to earthquake.

The United Nations and international law recognized Philippines’ ownership over Benham Rise. -Ram Arciga

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