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19/06/2024
Mining News

Exploring the depths: The rise of marine minerals in the green energy transition

As the world pivots towards digitization, electrification, and sustainable energy solutions, the demand for copper—an essential component in these advancements—continues to surge. With its unparalleled conductivity and durability, copper plays a pivotal role in powering the modern age. However, as global demand escalates, the need to replenish copper reserves becomes increasingly pressing.

The last frontier: Marine minerals

The quest for new copper sources has led companies to explore marine minerals, particularly in regions like the Norwegian and Greenland Seas. These untapped reserves present a promising frontier for meeting future demand. Green Minerals, a frontrunner in this emerging sector, has strategically positioned itself ahead of the curve in anticipation of the first licensing round in 2024.

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Norway’s forward-thinking approach to mineral activity, as outlined in the Seabed Minerals Act of 2019, has paved the way for companies like Green Minerals to spearhead exploration efforts in previously inaccessible marine territories. Leveraging partnerships and affiliations, Green Minerals aims to establish a comprehensive marine minerals value chain, drawing inspiration from Norway’s successful offshore oil and gas industry.

Unlocking potential: Seafloor massive sulphide deposits

The Mohns and Knipovich ridges, prime targets within the newly opened territories, boast ultra-slow spreading ridges with the potential to host substantial Seafloor Massive Sulphide (SMS) deposits. These deposits, akin to their terrestrial counterparts, hold significant reserves of copper and other valuable metals. Green Minerals, positioned as a first mover in the licensing round, is poised to capitalize on these rich prospects through strategic alliances and diligent exploration efforts.

Technical innovations for sustainable mining

While deep-sea mining presents unique challenges, advancements in technology have made extraction increasingly feasible. Green Minerals has forged partnerships with leading industry players to develop cutting-edge solutions for offshore mineral production. From riser systems to seafloor mining machines, the consortium aims to validate the technical and economic feasibility of marine mining operations.

Disruptive concepts for efficient operations

One of Green Minerals’ groundbreaking innovations involves reimagining the ore storage process. By leveraging disconnectable turret technology, the company proposes a novel approach to storing and transferring ore between vessels, maximizing efficiency and minimizing environmental impact. Additionally, advancements in ship-to-ship operations further enhance the viability of deep-sea mining endeavors.

Processing marine ores: The key to revenue

Understanding the processability of marine ore is essential for realizing its economic potential. Green Minerals has collaborated with esteemed institutions like the Finnish Geological Survey to characterize and evaluate marine ore samples. Initial findings indicate favorable copper recovery rates, paving the way for further exploration and potential cobalt recovery initiatives.

Blending land and ocean ores for sustainability

Innovative blending strategies offer a sustainable solution for extending the lifespan of existing terrestrial mines. By combining high-grade offshore ores with marginal land-based ores, mining companies can optimize resource utilization and minimize environmental footprint. This approach not only enhances profitability but also promotes responsible resource management.

Charting a course for the future

As Norwegian authorities initiate the award process for commercial licenses, Green Minerals stands ready to embark on a new chapter in deep-sea mining. Drawing inspiration from Norway’s offshore oil and gas success story, the company remains committed to unlocking the vast potential of marine minerals while upholding principles of sustainability and responsible resource management.

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