They don’t look like much at first, the black, potato-shaped blobs that lie scattered on the seabed, deep beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean. But as is so often the case, looks can be deceiving.
These nodules, and the metals that lie within them, are at the heart of a new and potentially lucrative mining frontier.
Metals like cobalt, copper, nickel and manganese have been mined on land for years, but going deep into the ocean to find them is becoming an increasingly tantalizing prospect. Companies like DeepGreen Metals and Nautilus Minerals — both with Canadian ties — have invested millions in preparation to raise the minerals from the seabed.
The metals in question are found in three sources: those potato-sized nodules; seafloor massive sulphide (SMS) deposits around hydrothermal vents; and cobalt-rich crusts near underwater mountains. Continue Reading →