Massive ore-grade zinc, copper and iron sulphide deposits have been found at the axis of the East Pacific Rise. Although their presence on the deep ocean-floor had been predicted there was no supporting observational evidence. The East Pacific Rise deposits represent a modern analogue of Cyprus-type sulphide ores associated with ophiolitic rocks on land. They contain at least 29% zinc metal and 6% metallic copper. Their discovery will provide a new focus for deep-sea exploration, leading to new assessments of the concentration of metals in the upper layers of the oceanic crust.