Progress within Deep Sea Mining

Growth within renewable energy, electric transportation and hi-tech products requires access to mineral resources. 200 delegates from twenty different countries met in Berlin to discuss prudent and responsive development of marine mineral resources.

Published: 2 October 2017
GIR 6000 UiB.jpg

Picture of ÆGIR 6000 Deep-sea ROV, University of Bergen

Economic importance and supply-risk make deep sea mining an important global topic. GCE Subsea attended the 46th annual Underwater Mining Conference (UMC) in Berlin last week. The conference is the premier venue for bringing sectors together around the world, to discuss environmental, legal and technical challenges related to marine mineral mining.

It seems clear that new raw material needs to be fed into a circular economy, as most metals are fixed to existing infrastructure, and we are facing increased demand for several materials required for a greener energy and transport sector.

Legislation Moving Forwards

The legislation work is moving forwards, both nationally and internationally. The International Seabed Authority is developing the legal framework for marine mineral mining in international waters. This work is linked to the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea. The plan is to have the legal framework ready in 2020. Norway is represented with the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate.

From 1 April, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy took over management responsibility for exploration and recovery of mineral deposits on the Norwegian continental shelf. The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate have received the management responsibility. A draft for mineral recovery on the Norwegian continental shelf was submitted for public consultation summer 2017.

More R&D Required

Several countries are active in mapping mineral resources in the deep sea. The deep sea contains significant resources of seafloor massive sulphides, manganese nodules and crust. Materials such as copper, cobalt and nickel are of special interest.

Large area coverage mapping with a multitude of techniques, as well as drilling and coring must be undertaken to better establish the amount of minerals available and the grade of this. Several environmental and technological aspects must be addressed to solve responsible and cost efficient exploitation.

UMC 2018 in Bergen

The Underwater Mining Conference (UMC) 2018 will take place in Bergen 10 – 14 September 2018, with the main program the 11 –12 September. The conference local co-host will be K.G. Jebsen Centre for Deep Sea Research at the University of Bergen, GCE Subsea and The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate.

You can read about the Underwater Mining Confernce 2017 at the UMC 2017 website.

Contact Information:

Jon O. Hellevang

Senior Subsea Innovator
+47 988 48 828
jon.hellevang@gcesubsea.no