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Trying to Grasp the Financial Model

The Financial Model, the mechanism by which the ideals built into the founding principles of the ISA—that mineral resources in the high seas are the common heritage of humankind—are manifested in practice, is perhaps the most challenging component of launching any deep-sea mining venture. The financial model is predictive, based on myriad assumptions about what […]

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A snail relocation experiment near Solwara I. Photo courtesy Nautilus Minerals.

Is this the end of Nautilus Minerals?

Last month brought grim news for the struggling Nautilus Minerals, once hailed as the world’s first viable deep-sea mining company. While ISA delegates were gathered in Jamaica, news broke that Nautilus secured relief from its creditors while it sought to restructure the company. Nautilus’s assets, including equipment, intellectual property, and mining leases are being auctioned […]

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The view from the Council Chamber. Photo by author.

From the Editor: Notes from the 25th Session.

Last month, representatives from member states, NGOs, contractors, and other stakeholders gathered in Kingston, Jamaica for Part I of the 25th Session of the International Seabed Authority. Over the course of a week, the General Council discussed and deliberated on the future of deep-sea mining, including how the financial model will be implemented, how to […]

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Delegates gather during an informal meeting. Photo courtesy ISA.

The Five Most Talked about Moments from the ISA Council Meeting

It was a cool week in Kingston as representatives from member states, observers, NGOs, and other stakeholders gathered at the International Seabed Authority to continue the quarter-century-long process of guiding mineral extraction in the high seas towards production. Discussions were broad in vision, focused in scope, and soberingly detailed. While everything from the percentage points […]

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A polymetallic nodule from the Clarion Clipperton Fracture Zone, purchased from an online dealer. 

Nodules for sale: tracking the origin of polymetallic nodules from the CCZ on the open market. 

You can buy a 5-lb bag of polymetallic nodules from the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone on Amazon, right now. Depending on your vantage point and how long you’ve participated in the deep-sea mining community, this will either come as a huge surprise or be completely unexceptional. Prior to the formation of the International Seabed Authority, there […]

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Figure 1. From Turner et al. (2019)

Identifying and communicating the value of a hydrothermal vent

The deep sea has a PR problem. Most people have little to no conception of what deep ocean ecosystems look like, what lives there, or how human well-being may depend on them. Deep-sea ecosystems provide many indirect services that benefit humanity, yet they are poorly quantified and infrequently discussed.  A new paper by graduate student […]

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Colossal Advancements in Accessible Deep-Ocean Technology

Accessing the deep seafloor is no small feat. Nations, institutions, contractors, and corporations make major capital investment into the tools and machines needed to explore and, ultimately, exploit the deep ocean. The enormous costs involved in deploying even basic equipment in 6000 meters of water has been among the biggest limiting factors in the development […]

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How to access a research paper.

Deep-sea mining, as both an industry and community of practice, is highly engaged in the scientific process. From plume flow models to environmental baselines to new engineering advancements, much of the core discussions happening in deep sea mining happens within the scientific literature. This is incredibly valuable when it comes to fostering partnerships and collaborations […]

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Cut rock samples from the Rio Grande Rise show Fe-Mn crusts (black and gray) growing on various types of iron-rich substrate rocks (pale to dark brown). Photo credit: Kira Mizell, USGS.

A lost continent rich in cobalt crusts could create a challenging precedent for mineral extraction in the high seas.

The Rio Grande Rise is an almost completely unstudied, geologically intriguing, ecologically mysterious, potential lost continent in the deep south Atlantic. And it also hosts dense cobalt-rich crusts. The Rio Grande Rise is a region of deep-ocean seamounts roughly the area of Iceland in the southwestern Atlantic. It lies west of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge off […]

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