The abyssal plain, the largest expanse of nothing on this planet cover the bottom of the world’s major ocean, is area sparsely populated with abnormal sea creatures and slowly accumulating sediment. Now it may be worth more than the occasional documentary. Deep Green Metals believes they are on track to mine metal nodules full of manganese, cobalt, nickel and copper by 2025. If they are right, and initial exploration suggest they are. The plain is filled with a thick bed of these slowly precipitating metal formations.
Originally discovered in 1860 by the Royal Society, 1500 Ttns was mined in 1970 with help from the CIA as a cover to grab a sunken Russian submarine. Since then mining has focused on land, but with child labour and mass deforestation, the world is looking for a cleaner alternative source to our growing need for these battery metals. As the areas are in international waters the licencing is organised by International Seabed Authority. A company wishing to operate must be sponsored by a nation-state, preferably of the 3rd world or landlocked, this is to help share the wealth of this international resources. Deep Green Metals is sponsored by the small island community of Nori, who were extremely exploited in the 70s for their phosphate.
If their resource estimations are correct their licences area holds 34 billion tons of nodules, which contains 270 million tons of nickel and 6 billion tons of manganese, 234 million tons of copper and 46 million tons of cobalt. This vast untapped resource is being considered as the rise of electric vehicles (EV) – up to 125 million EVs by 3025. This means long-term secure and safe sources of battery metals are desperately required. Other driving factors such as the rise of urbanisation and general population growth mean humanity needs more metal and like the petroleum business which moved offshore in search of wealth the mining industry may also have to.