Archive | Deep Sea Mining

DeepGreen CEO Gerard Barron Opens Up About DeepGreen’s Open Letter To BMW & Other Brands – by Johnna Crider (Clean Technica – April 14, 2021)

https://cleantechnica.com/

Recently, DeepGreen penned an open letter to BMW, Volvo, Google, and other brands about the importance of seafloor minerals and approached extraction cautiously with an exacting commitment to science-based impact analysis and environmental protection. I also interviewed DeepGreen’s CEO, Gerard Barron, via email last year.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of a second interview with Gerard, this time through Zoom. In yesterday’s interview, Gerard answered a few questions I had about the open letter and he expressed his passion for helping the environment through his work of collecting deep-sea nodules filled with metals needed in the battery industry.

JC: For those who may not know, how exactly do you collect these nodules from the seafloor? What makes DeepGreen different from any other company doing deep-sea mining? Continue Reading →

[Nickel/Cobalt Nodules] [Open Letter to Brands Calling for a Ban on Seafloor Minerals – by Deep Green Metals – April 1, 2021)

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To: BMW, Volvo, Google and Samsung SDI

At DeepGreen, we agree that seafloor minerals development should be approached cautiously and with an exacting commitment to science-based impact analysis and environmental protection.

A precautionary approach has informed our strategy from the outset, including our mission to provide battery metals sourced from deep-ocean nodules that generate zero solid waste, no toxic tailings, and a fraction of the carbon emissions compared to land-based sources.

Such environmental benefits can be achieved only through collecting polymetallic nodules, 4,000 meters deep on the abyssal plain where the abundance of life is up to 1,500 times less than in the vibrant ecosystems on land from where battery metals are currently sourced. Continue Reading →

A solution to battery metals crunch awaits in ocean – DeepGreen, SPAC CEOs – Taylor Kuykendall (SP Global Market Intelligence – March 9, 2021)

https://www.spglobal.com/

A deal between a blank-check firm and a Canadian developer aims to tap into deep ocean resources to become the world’s largest producer of metals for electric-vehicle batteries while keeping its environmental footprint and costs low.

DeepGreen Metals Inc. announced March 4 that it will combine with Sustainable Opportunities Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company, to create a combined entity called The Metals Co. with an estimated equity value of about $2.9 billion.

The deal with the SPAC offers DeepGreen the speed and certainty needed to move operations forward, DeepGreen Chairman and CEO Gerard Barron said in an interview with S&P Global Market Intelligence. Continue Reading →

EV metal producer DeepGreen to launch on NYSE in US$330-million SPAC deal – by Jaren Kerr (Globe and Mail – March 5, 2021)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

DeepGreen Metals Inc., a Vancouver-based producer of minerals used to make electric vehicle batteries, will become a publicly listed company after being acquired by Sustainable Opportunities Acquisition Corp. (SOAC) in a US$330-million deal.

Founded in 2009, DeepGreen sources minerals known as polymetallic nodules from the ocean floor, which are used to power electric vehicle batteries.

The company has exploration contracts in the Pacific Ocean’s Clarion-Clipperton Zone between Hawaii and Mexico. DeepGreen estimates its exploration zone has the potential to power 280 million electric vehicles. Continue Reading →

Is Mining The Ocean Bottom For Metals Really Better Than Mining On Land? – by James Conca (Forbes Magazine – February 24, 2021)

https://www.forbes.com/

It certainly looks like it. From almost any perspective, seabed mining of metals is better for the environment, social justice issues and economics.

A large continuous supply of special economic metals is essential for any high tech future. Building electric vehicles and wind turbines take a lot of resources, more than we can provide now, particularly special metals like Co, Li, Te and Nd, as well as just base metals like Fe, Cu, Pb and Zn, and other rare earth elements. Even other materials like graphite.

But their supply is generally an environmental and social nightmare. The waste from Li, graphite and high-purity-Si processing has destroyed whole villages and ecosystems in China, Indonesia and Bolivia, among others. Continue Reading →

Northern Territory sinks seabed mining plans (Australian Mining – February 8, 2021)

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The Northern Territory Government has decided not to lift a ban on seabed mining in its waters following a public consultation last October.

The territory has kept a moratorium on seabed mining activities since 2012, which was due to expire on March 5, but will now be extended for up to another six months.

There are very few seabed mining projects globally and the mining activity has never been undertaken in the Northern Territory. Continue Reading →

Could the world’s deep seas become China’s mining frontier? – by Stephen Chen (South China Morning Post – February 2, 2021)

https://www.scmp.com/

Chinese researchers say they have identified a number of “strategically important” deep sea mineral deposits as part of a decade-long survey of the world’s sea floors.

The researchers conducted a series of government-funded surveys from 2011 to 2020 and located potentially high-yield deposits of various essential industrial minerals from nickel to rare earths, according to a paper published in the Chinese-language Bulletin of Mineralogy, Petrology and Geochemistry last week.

A few of the deposits were in the South China Sea, but most were in the Indian, Atlantic and Pacific oceans, far from China. Continue Reading →

Deep dive to new resources – by Graham Lloyd (The Australian – January 1, 2021)

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/

Gerard Barron wants to secure a battery-powered future — from the sea floor.

In the global race to remake the world for a low emissions future, Gerard Barron just may be Australia’s Elon Musk.

Where Musk is obsessed with electric cars and deep space, Barron is focused on the abyssal plains located 4500m below the surface of the Pacific Ocean.

Barron is leading a gathering push to exploit a base metals resource that has been known about a long time but has been too difficult to exploit for political, environmental and logistic reasons. Continue Reading →

Opinion: California Should Prohibit Seabed Mining to Protect Fisheries and Communities – by Bob Kurz (Times of San Diego – December 7, 2020)

https://timesofsandiego.com/

Bob Kurz serves on the state board of Coastal Conservation Association California and is also a trustee for the International Game Fish Association.

Growing demand for gold, platinum, phosphorous and other valuable minerals found off our coast may someday lead mining companies to bring destructive extractive machinery to California’s nearshore seafloor.

The result could be widespread damage to the kelp forests, rocky reefs, coral gardens and other areas that nurture fish and wildlife and sustain the recreational and commercial fisheries vital to our coastal economy.

The California State Lands Commission should proactively address this threat by implementing a precautionary ban on seabed mining for hard minerals in state waters. Continue Reading →

Why the Philippines Needs to Establish a Sovereign Wealth Fund – by Mark Manantan, Emerson M. Sanchez and Jayson S. Lamchek (The Diplomat – October 12, 2020)

https://thediplomat.com/

The country needs to ensure that its bounty of offshore wealth benefits the people, not just a privileged elite.

The Filipino tycoon Dennis Uy, a top donor of President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign and his family friend from childhood, earlier this year acquired almost half of the non-operating interest in the Malampaya gas fields, a strategic asset supplying 30 percent of the Philippines’ electricity.

The acquisition is one of many businesses purchased and government contracts clinched by Uy under Duterte’s presidency.

Uy’s rapidly growing fortune contrasts with the apparent lack of a concrete plan to ensure that the country’s considerable offshore natural resource wealth improves the lives of the masses of the Filipino people, rather than just accruing to a privileged elite. Continue Reading →

Sourcing EV battery metals from deep sea claims 90% carbon footprint reduction (Financial Express – September 21, 2020)

https://www.financialexpress.com/

As the world rushes to replace internal combustion engines with electric vehicle batteries, a study suggests that polymetallic rocks found on the deep-ocean floor can be a source for hundreds of millions of tonnes of EV battery metals with dramatically lower climate impact than mining ores on land.

The study published in the Journal of Cleaner Production does a comparative life cycle assessment of battery sources, quantifying the direct and indirect emissions, disruptions to carbon sequestration services realised in the mining, processing, and refining of battery metals.

The carbon intensity of producing metals like nickel led to mounting interest in finding low-carbon metal sources, along with a plea by Tesla’s Elon Musk that promised “a giant contract” for nickel mined “efficiently and in an environmentally sensitive way.” Continue Reading →

Deep-Sea Mining: How to Balance Need for Metals with Ecological Impacts – by Daniel Ackerman (Scientific American – August 31, 2020)

https://www.scientificamerican.com/

As the industry inches closer to reality, scientists probe potential environmental harms

Slashing humanity’s reliance on fossil fuels will require billions of kilograms of metal: a single wind turbine can contain more than a metric ton of copper, and electric car batteries demand heaps of cobalt, nickel and manganese.

Most of these metals now come from terrestrial mines—often at the cost of deforestation, water pollution and human rights abuses. But a vast trove of metals on the deep-sea floor could soon provide an alternative source.

Though companies have been eyeing this possibility for decades, engineering challenges and unfavorable economics have kept work in the exploration phase. Continue Reading →

CEO Of DeepGreen Metals Talks Mining Nickel From The Seafloor — CleanTechnica Interview – by Johnna Crider (Clean Technica – August 15, 2020)

https://cleantechnica.com/

DeepGreen is a deep-sea mining company with a vision of a zero-carbon, circular economy. Its goal is to source metals with the least environmental and societal impact. I noticed the company when its social media marketer added me to a Twitter list.

DeepGreen Metals has an interesting name and it caught my attention more when I checked out its profile and was graciously offered the opportunity to interview the CEO, Gerard Barron.

I find the world of minerals, metals, and gemstones a fascinating one, and DeepGreen’s story using a technique with minerals to extract base metals for batteries really piqued my curiosity. Continue Reading →

Experts call for plan to protect deep-sea life from mining – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – June 24, 2020)

https://www.mining.com/

Mining the seafloor opens a vast source of key metals needed for clean energy, but should not start until a full evaluation of likely environmental impacts can be made, a report commissioned by the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (Ocean Panel) shows.

The group of academics and environmentalists believe a precautionary approach to deep-sea mining is needed. Otherwise, they warn of likely irreversible damage to global aquatic ecosystems.

In their study, published on Wednesday, the experts note that copper, rare earths and iron ore were the resources that piqued miners’ original interest in exploring the seafloor. Continue Reading →

Underwater drones join hunt for trillions in mineral riches trapped on ocean’s floor – by Justin Higginbottom (CNBC.com – June 6, 2020)

https://www.cnbc.com/

Across the otherworldly plains of the Clarion-Clipperton Zone, some 15,000 ft below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, are clustered manganese nodules the size of potatoes. The rare earth metal deposits have grown undisturbed at a rate of about a third of an inch every several million years. Now they are targets for the nascent seabed mining industry.

But plucking them off this dark desert is no easy task. First they need to be found. That’s where underwater drones come in. Hovering just feet above the seafloor, the machines can record unprecedented details of a surface less mapped than Mars.

“If you want high-resolution information, you have to put the sensor close to what you’re looking at. An AUV [automated underwater vehicle] is the best and most accurate way to do that,” said Richard Mills, vice president of marine robotics sales at Kongsberg Maritime. His company’s creations can relay images with a resolution of 2x2cm, much better than what’s possible with a surface-level ship’s sonar. Continue Reading →