Archive | Deep Sea Mining

World-first mining case launched in PNG – by Tom Lodewyke (Lawyers Weekly – December 14, 2017)

https://www.lawyersweekly.com.au/

Citizens of Papua New Guinea have launched landmark legal proceedings against the country’s government over a deep seabed mining project.

Coastal communities in Papua New Guinea (PNG) recently commenced proceedings against the PNG government over the Solwara 1 project, the world’s first deep seabed mine.

The Centre for Environmental Law and Community Rights (CELCOR) in Port Moresby is representing four community plaintiffs. They are seeking information on the legality of the mine’s approval, as well as the likely environmental, social, cultural and economic impacts. Continue Reading →

The best diamonds in the world are buried at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean – by Aislinn Laing (Quartz.com – October 29, 2017)

https://qz.com/

The best diamonds in the world come from the sea. Swept up from riverbeds by the mighty Orange River in southern Africa back when dinosaurs still roamed the earth, their bumpy journey to the Atlantic polished them and broke up any stones with flaws, ensuring only the strongest and best survived.

Those diamonds landed off the coast of what is now Namibia, creating the world’s richest marine-diamond deposit. The country’s territorial waters are now estimated to hold 80 million carats, and the world’s biggest diamond miner, De Beers, has quietly built up an armada off the coast to vacuum up those precious gems.

Diamonds on land are running out; no economically viable new source has been found in 20 years. Continue Reading →

Deep sea mining – by Elaine Maslin (Offshore Engineer – October 1, 2017)

http://www.oedigital.com/

Many are looking to a new resource, deep sea minerals, thanks to growth in demand from emerging economies and the development of new technologies that require increased supply of metals such as copper.

While interest in mining metals from the deeps has been ongoing since the 1960s, activity has remained low, due to low metal prices and the challenges of operating in deep sea environments. This activity is also the focus of strong local and environmental opposition.

Slowly, however, the pieces have been falling into place to permit this activity. In 1982, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) established the International Seabed Authority (ISA), based in Jamaica, to organize and regulate mineral-related activities in seabed areas beyond the limits of national jurisdictions. Continue Reading →

Treasures beneath the sea – by Chu Daye (Global Times – September 26, 2017)

http://www.globaltimes.cn/

China set to make breakthrough in deep-ocean mining of rare, hotly-demanded metals

Before mankind’s first commercial deep-sea mining endeavor begins in 2019, China’s Xiang Yang Hong 06 survey vessel is currently examining the seabed of the East Pacific for precious metals in a three-month-long voyage.

A leading expert in China’s seabed mining quest says of the voyage that the country is sailing toward a program that will see the extraction of 30 tons of minerals per hour from 1,700 meters beneath the sea by 2020, minerals that are much-needed in the country.

In August, the Xiang Yang Hong 06 vessel left Qingdao in East China’s Shandong Province for the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone in the East Pacific, south of the Hawaiian Islands, to search for polymetallic nodules. Aboard the survey vessel are experts from China Minmetals Corp (CMC), in the company’s first voyage to search for mining opportunities for deep-sea rare metals. Continue Reading →

Advancing technology signals imminent opening of undersea mineral treasure chest – by Henry Lazenby (MiningWeekly.com – August 29, 2017)

http://www.miningweekly.com/

VANCOUVER (miningweekly.com) – In a new era of ever-advancing technology and increased legal certainty, ocean floor mining is set to take off in the next decade as several juniors jostle to be first to exploit the wealth hidden on the deep ocean floor.

DeepGreen Resources chief development officer Anthony O’Sullivan believes it is in the running to reach the ocean depths, with access to a prime base metals tenure in a prospective region of the Pacific ocean floor.

The company’s flagship Nori project is part of the Clarion Clipperton Zone (CCZ) of the Central Pacific, which was first discovered in 1873 – an area believed to hold an abundance of the polymetallic nodules, with metal concentrations occurring on the vast abyssal plains at a depth of about 4 000 m to 6 000 m in international waters, O’Sullivan told an audience attending the fifty-sixth Annual Conference of Metallurgists, in Vancouver. Continue Reading →

Deep Sea Mining and the Controversial Solwara 1 Project in Papua New Guinea – by Peter Neill (Huff Post – July 11, 2017)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

Peter Neill is the Director of the World Ocean Observatory.

It has been some time since we’ve reflected on the issue of deep sea mining — the search for minerals of all types on the ocean floor.

We have seen already how marine resources are being over-exploited — over-fishing by international fisheries being the most egregious example, mining for sand for construction projects and the creation of artificial islands, the exploitation of coral reefs and certain marine species for medical innovations and the next cure for human diseases based on understanding and synthesis of how such organisms function.

The Deep Sea Mining Campaign, an organization based in Australia and Canada, has been following the saga of Solwara 1, proposed by Nautilus Inc. for offshore Papua New Guinea that continues to seek financing year after year since 2011. Continue Reading →

Future of diamond mining in the sea – by Magreth Nunuhe (The Southern Times – June 26, 2017)

The Southern Times – Top News For Southern Africa

WALVIS BAY – Having the richest marine diamond deposits in the world, Namibia has set its sights on the ocean as the output of marine diamond production continue to enormously outstrip production of the precious stones on land.

Last year, marine diamond production yielded 1.17 million carats, while land operations generated 403,000 carats, contributing over billions of dollars in revenue. Namibian diamond mining takes place at around 120 to 140 metres below sea level.

In the next 15 years, it is estimated that diamond production on land in Namibia will run out and that 95 percent of diamond production will come from the sea. With approximations that the 3,700 miles squared concession area at sea on the south-west coast of Southern Africa will provide plenty of gemstones for the next 50 years, De Beers Group and Debmarine Namibia inaugurated the world’s most advanced exploration vessel, dubbed the mv SS Nujoma at the coastal town of Walvis Bay on 15 June 2017. Continue Reading →

Opposition will ‘not let up’ to planned seabed mining in Philippines – by Rachel E. Llorca (Asia Pacific Report – June 7, 2017)

Manila – Fishermen from the archipelagic province of Romblon in the Philippines are opposed to planned deep sea mining ventures in the area amid fears it will destroy their livelihoods. One of these fishermen is 55-year-old Agosto Rivera. Fishing is his livelihood, with the fish nets and blue sea of Odiongan Bay –- part of Tablas Island –- his constant companion for 43 years.

With a PHP300 (NZD$8) daily bounty from fishing, and sometimes a PHP5000 (NZD$140) commission when doing deep sea fishing, the sea has been the lifeblood of Rivera’s wife and 10 children.

But Rivera’s livelihood, and that of the estimated 1390 fisher folk in Odiongan Bay, is said to be in danger. Rivera’s fears are echoed by local government leaders and cause-oriented citizens (known locally as Romblomanons) who are wary of prospective deep sea mining operations that the firm Asian Palladium Mineral Resources, Inc. wants to conduct in Romblon’s Tablas Strait. Continue Reading →

Is deep sea mining vital for a greener future – even if it destroys ecosystems? – by Damian Carrington (The Guardian – June 4, 2017)

https://www.theguardian.com/

Mining the deep ocean floor for valuable metals is both inevitable and vital, according to the scientists, engineers and industrialists exploring the world’s newest mining frontier.

The special metals found in rich deposits there are critical for smart electronics and crucial green technologies, such as solar power and electric cars. But as the world’s population rises, demand is now outstripping the production from mines on land for some important elements.

Those leading the global rush to place giant mining machines thousands of metres below the sea surface say the extraordinary richness of the underwater ores mean the environmental impacts will be far lower than on land. But critics say exotic and little-known ecosystems in the deep oceans could be destroyed and must be protected. Continue Reading →

Renewables’ deep-sea mining conundrum – by David Shukman (British Broadcasting Corporation – April 11, 2017)

http://www.bbc.com/

British scientists exploring an underwater mountain in the Atlantic Ocean have discovered a treasure trove of rare minerals. Their investigation of a seamount more than 500km (300 miles) from the Canary Islands has revealed a crust of “astonishingly rich” rock.

Samples brought back to the surface contain the scarce substance tellurium in concentrations 50,000 times higher than in deposits on land. Tellurium is used in a type of advanced solar panel, so the discovery raises a difficult question about whether the push for renewable energy may encourage mining of the seabed.

The rocks also contain what are called rare earth elements that are used in wind turbines and electronics. Known as Tropic Seamount, the mountain stands about 3,000m tall – about the size of one of the middle-ranging Alpine summits – with a large plateau at its top, lying about 1,000m below the ocean surface. Continue Reading →

Many Leagues Under the Sea: Proponents see glistening future in seabed mining, but environmentalists fret – by Megan Van Wyngaardt (MiningWeekly.com – March 24, 2017)

http://www.miningweekly.com/

With the current known mineral deposits on land increasingly being depleted globally, necessitating greater exploration, interest in deep-sea minerals is growing as mining companies look for future sources to exploit.

“The ocean is where future resources exist,” India Council of Scientific and Industrial Research National Institute of Oceanography chief scientist Dr Rahul Sharma said at South Africa’s Council for Geoscience Annual Conference 2017, earlier this month.

Sharma highlighted that minerals from the deep seafloor, such as polymetallic nodules, ferromanganese crusts and hydrothermal sulphides, are potential sources of millions of tonnes of metals such as copper, nickel, cobalt, manganese and iron. Continue Reading →

Should we mine the deep ocean? – by Kendra Pierre-Louis (Popular Science – February 21, 2017)

http://www.popsci.com/

Behind the deep sea “gold rush” for increasingly rare minerals

You’ve probably heard of peak oil—the point at which oil production reaches its maximum and begins to decline—but what about peak copper? Copper helps send the electrical signals that make modern electronics like cellphones and tablets work. But there’s growing concern that the prevalence of key minerals like copper is on the decline.

In 2016 the Chilean Copper Commission (Cochilisco) released a report that looked at 15 years of copper exploration data. They found that most new copper deposits had been found before 2010. The world hasn’t stopped looking for copper, but we’ve stopped finding it.

And copper isn’t even the mineral that makes companies most nervous—it’s still pretty abundant. Minerals like tantalum, tungsten, and molybdenum are another matter entirely. They’re vital to manufacturing high-tech devices and don’t have ready substitutes. These minerals are often not mined directly but are byproducts of other types of mining. Continue Reading →

China’s deep-sea crewed submersible heads for Indian Ocean mining mission (GB Times – February 7, 2017)

http://gbtimes.com/

China’s deep-sea manned Jiaolong submersible has embarked on a journey to conduct the country’s 38th oceanic scientific mission in preparation for potential mining of the sea bed.

Carried by the advanced expedition ship Xiangyanghong 09, the craft departed from the port city of Qingdao in east Shandong Province on Monday morning.

Jiaolong will be used to explore the polymetallic sulphides in a deep-sea rift in northwest Indian Ocean, with the mission anticipated to pave the way for China’s upcoming application to the International Seabed Authority for mining rights in that area of the seabed. Continue Reading →

Southern Africa: Phosphate Mining Firms Set Sights On Southern Africa’s Sea Floor – by Mark Olalde (AllAfrica.com – Novmeber 18, 2016)

http://allafrica.com/

Johannesburg — A persistent fear of diminishing phosphorus reserves has pushed mining companies to search far and wide for new sources. Companies identified phosphate deposits on the ocean floor and are fighting for mining rights around the world.

Countries in southern Africa have the potential to set an international precedent by allowing the first offshore mining operations. South Africa specifically is one of the first countries on the continent to begin legislating its marine economy to promote sustainable development, and questions surround mining’s place in this new economy.

While the fishing and coastal tourism industries account for slightly more than 1.4 billion dollars of GDP, the potential economic benefits from marine mining remain unclear. Continue Reading →

China’s deep-sea mission to mine the wealth beneath the ocean floor (South China Morning Post – October 6, 2016)

http://www.scmp.com/

Resource-hungry China is stepping up activity in one of the final frontiers of mineral wealth – the remote seabeds lying kilometres beneath the Indian and Pacific oceans.

The world’s largest consumer and importer of minerals and metals is now studying the core technologies of seabed mining in the Indian Ocean, according to Tao Chunhui, one of the country’s leading oceanographers and a researcher at the State Oceanic Administration.

Vast sulphide deposits on the 3,000 metre deep seabed might contribute to China’s metal supplies in the long term as it tried to narrow the technological gap with other maritime powers, said Tao, who was chief scientist of a number of China’s Indian Ocean expeditions. The volcanically formed hydrothermal sulphides on the seabed contain copper, zinc and precious metals including gold and silver. They are formed in hot underground springs seeping through cracks in the seabed. Continue Reading →