Environment and geology hand-in-hand
Where shall the minerals needed for the energy transition come from? The exploration for seabed minerals is the exploration for a better solution to securing key minerals.
Collaboration is key
Collaboration between industry and academics promotes technological advancement, innovation and knowledge acquisition and development, said Anette Broch Mathisen Tvedt, CEO in Adepth Minerals, when presenting the EMINENT project to about 130 attendees at the seminar Accelerating Deep Sea Exploration 19 April 2023.
The project is very well balanced between environmental, technological and geological research along the value chain for seabed mineral. The project aim is to establish the basis for an integrated value chain for deep sea minerals with a far smaller environmental footprint than current land-based mining operations.
A key takeaway from the seminar is the need for more environmental and geological knowledge. Many highlighted the importance of doing minerals and environmental exploration in parallel, as well as joining forces across disciplines and organisations. This is exactly what the EMINENT project will do.
A key part of the project is the Deep Insight23 research expedition. This will collect data to better understand the environment and the environmental challenges and how to best explore, and potentially produce and process deep-sea minerals.
The expedition will perform environmental monitoring and demonstrate technology for more efficient coring and geophysical characterisation, supporting more efficient deep sea exploration and research. The technology developed for more efficient coring is highlighted as key enabler to provide better resource estimates, as current sampling is primarily taken at the surface with ROV.
Opening process planned before the summer
Amund Vik, State Secretary at the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy gave the opening speech at the seminar. He said that the opening process is moving forward as planned. Vik emphasized that the Norwegian opening process does not imply a yes to mining. It opens for industry to take part in the exploration. More knowledge will be required prior to opening for mining.
Vik also received a report with recommendation to action to take to strengthen national test facilities as well as general advise how to position Norway as a global leading player within seabed minerals.
Read more about this report and recommendations here.