Yearly Archives: 2019

Ramping up for REMPs: An introduction to Regional Environmental Management Plans.

As deep-sea mining creeps towards production and the International Seabed Authority works diligently to produce a comprehensive Mining Code for exploitation in the Area, stakeholders from across the spectrum are racing to answer one question: how do we predict, assess, manage, and mitigate environmental harm in the deep sea beyond national jurisdiction? Increasingly, regulators, contractors, […]

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Barnacles attached to hydrothermal vent spires feeding at Kawio Barat. Critics of the Solwara 1 project raised concerns about its potential impact on the ecosystems that center on hydrothermal vents. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, INDEX-SATAL 2010

A Primer on Seafloor Massive Sulphides

Formed at the margins where tectonic plates collide or diverge, seafloor massive sulphides are the most geologically active and among the most metal-rich deep-sea deposits. Only discovered in 1977 (though there were some tantalizing near misses several decades earlier), exploration on these prospects is relatively immature compared to formations like polymetallic nodule fields, which have […]

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DeepGreen Derives Metal from Seafloor Polymetallic Nodules, Setting Stage for Commercial Scale Processing of Cleaner Base Metals

Vancouver, Canada — DeepGreen Metals, Inc., a company pioneering a new source of critical base metals which are needed for scaling up electric vehicles and energy storage globally, today announced that they have successfully derived an alloy of base metals from polymetallic nodules found on the deep ocean floor. A vast resource of essential metals — nickel, copper, cobalt […]

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Brazil's claim for the Rio Grande Rise.

One of the most significant deep-sea mining negotiations is underway at the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf

One of the most significant discussions in deep-sea mining is happening not a the International Seabed Authority, but in the offices of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf at the United Nations’ headquarters in New York. The CLCS is responsible for assessing outer continental shelf claims, those portions of a nation’s continental […]

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Cobalt-rich Crusts collected from the Tropic Seamount. Photo courtesy NERC.

A Primer on Cobalt-rich Crusts

Scattered throughout the ocean are thick, metal-rich crusts that grow slowly on the exposed sides of seamounts. Among the three major ore types that are the predominant focus of deep-sea mining, these cobalt-rich crusts have received the least attention. While polymetallic nodules have occupied the deep-sea mining community’s collective imagination since the genesis of the […]

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A watershed summer for electric vehicles

Electric vehicles made a huge splash this summer, with nearly every major car manufacturer announcing a new line of all-electric, hybrid, or plug-in hybrid vehicles. Battery manufacturers announced huge leaps in production. And major shipping companies declared new commitments to electrifying their fleets while nations set ambitious targets for transitioning away from internal combustion engines.  […]

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“We need to make choices based on evidence”: an interview with GSR managing director Kris Van Nijen

Maria Bolevich for DSM Observer Global Sea Mineral Resources (GSR) is founded by Deme Group, a world leader in dredging, marine engineering and environmental remediation. In 2013, GSR and the International Seabed Authority entered into a 15-year contract for the exploration for polymetallic nodules in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone. Kris Van Nijen, the managing director of GSR, […]

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What we’ve missed in the Abyss: Mining 40 years of cruise reports for biodiversity and research effort data from deep-sea hydrothermal vents.

Andrew Thaler for Southern Fried Science In the forty years since that first discovery, hundreds of research expedition ventured into the deep oceans to study and understand the ecology of deep-sea hydrothermal vents. In doing so, they discovered thousands of new species, unraveled the secrets of chemosynthesis, and fundamentally altered our understanding of what it […]

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