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.
He highlighted that, with up to 0.358-million tonnes of metals mineable a year, with a value of about $963-million, or $18.73-billion, in 20 years, seabed mining was an attractive mining method.
Exploration licences have been acquired from the International Seabed Authority under the United Nations (UN) Law of the Sea over large tracts of the seafloor in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans in areas beyond traditional national jurisdictions.
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