Belgian fast-moving ‘caterpillar’ in deep sea copper, cobalt race – by Barbara Lewis (Reuters Canada – February 27, 2019)

LONDON, Feb 27 (Reuters) – Belgian group DEME and Canada’s DeepGreen are carrying out tests and research to collect nodules containing copper, cobalt and other minerals from the ocean floor, as a race to mine the depths gathers pace.

Deep sea mining is often dismissed as unaffordable and environmentally hazardous because of the potential risk to species science has barely begun to understand.

But U.N. talks in Jamaica, which began on Monday, are working out regulations on mining in international waters, which may appeal to companies struggling to find new reserves on land and to deal with governments and communities.

DEME unit Global Sea Mineral Resources (GSR), is testing nodule collector Patania II, named after the world’s fastest caterpillar.

The test, in a part of the Clarion Clipperton Zone, which spans 4.5 million square km (1.7 million square miles) between Hawaii and Mexico, follows the trial of Patania I in 2017, which crawled along the ocean bed at a depth of 4,500 metres.

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