DeepGreen Metals, a start-up from Canada intent on extracting battery metals such as manganese, cobalt, copper and nickel from the bottom of the sea, has partnered up with various universities as well as scientific research institutions on its deep-sea exploration program. This will help the company characterize the possible effects of mining polymetallic ore from the Pacific Ocean’s Clarion-Clipperton Zone (“CCZ”)
Earlier in April this year, the company added to its area of exploration on the ocean floor as it obtained Tonga Offshore Mining Ltd, which gave the firm exploration rights to a 3rd area in the CCZ that makes up about 74,713km2 of the seabed. This new area is presumed to hold about 756 million wet tons of manganese (polymetallic) nodules.
The research project will include more than 100 researchers whose primary interest will be to scope out the entire area by use of sail drones, nets, ROVs and other state of the art moorings and sensors.
DeepGreen also announced that specialists from the Natural History Museum (London), University of Leeds, U.K. National Oceanography Centre, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, University of Gothenburg, Florida State University, Heriot-Watt University-the Lyell Centre, Texas A&M and also the University of Hawaii will take part in the project while preserving and upholding their academic sovereignty.
To further advance a co-operative program that will address the impact and concerns that polymetallic mining in the CCZ may likely have on the environment, the company invested a little over $60 million.
Part of DeepGreen’s social and environmental impact assessment will also include the numerous studies of bathymetry, benthic and pelagic biology as well as the ecosystem function of the Clarion-Clipperton Zone for the planned polymetallic mining project.
The data gathered will be used to make well-informed decisions for how to begin the extraction process for the resources. DeepGreen states that this mineral-rich are has the potential to supply billions of tons of essential battery metals which are needed for the transition to clean energy globally.
Additionally, the involvement of various independent scientific institutions in the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment of DeepGreen places emphasis on the company’s dedication to transparency throughout the exploration period of an industry.
A prime concern that researchers and scientists will look into is the effect sediment plumes will have on deep-sea flora and fauna in the water column, at different temporal and spatial scales.
The information gathered from the exploration phase will enable further development of engineering technologies that will be used in the polymetallic mines so as to ensure that that the ocean is affected in the smallest possible way during the extraction process.
Pulling off such a collaboration is no mean task, and other mineral sector players like Energy Fuels Inc. (NYSE American: UUUU) (TSX: EFR) will certainly applaud the effort that went into getting the partnership on its feet.
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