What’s next for deep-sea mining in 2019?

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A nodule harvester. Image courtesy DeepGreen.
A nodule harvester. Image courtesy DeepGreen.

1. Outcomes from the LTC. In the next few weeks, the Legal and Technical Committee will release their draft regulations for mining polymetallic nodules in the Area. There will be an opportunity for comments and input from the deep-sea mining community prior to the LTC, Council, and General Assembly meetings this summer.

2. Patania II sea trials. DEME’s Patania II is currently undergoing sea trials to test the effectiveness of the platform and assess how the nodule collector system will impact the seafloor. There are also experiments planned to look at recovery on the sea bed following mining operations. Unfortunately, the Patania II suffered operational challenges this week and the timeline for trials has been pushed back.

3. DeepGreen environmental campaigns. DeepGreen is engaged in its own environmental campaigns, deploying deep-sea moorings and conducting seafloor surveys both to assess the value of their resource and develop biological baselines for environmental assessment. Among the surveys their conducting is one of the first large-scale examinations of noise in the deep ocean.

4. Part II of the 25th Session of the International Seabed Authority. The negotiations continue in barely 4 months when the ISA reconvenes for Part II of the 25th session. On the table with be the joint venture with Poland, operationalizing the Enterprise, the draft mining regulations, monitoring, and, of course, the Financial Model.