The European Commission is helping to take seabed mining to the next level by funding a four-year project entitled: “Breakthrough Solutions for Mineral Extraction and Processing in Extreme Environments – Blue Mining”.
The overall aims of this project are to develop new cost-effective solutions for environmentally friendly mining and processing in difficult conditions and extreme environments, and to further unlock the large potential of raw materials in Europe.
The development of sustainable seabed mining solutions is important in Europe for several reasons. Firstly, it will help to secure raw materials for Europe’s high-tech industry, which depends on importing vital metals. Secondly, it will further enhance Europe’s leadership in advanced deep-sea technologies on a global scale. And thirdly, it will enable new education, skills and knowledge to be offered by universities and research centres.
The extreme conditions found on the ocean floor raise specific challenges, both technically and environmentally, which are demanding and entirely different from the challenges of land-based mining. The project will be carried out by a group of 19 large European industry and research organisations with various maritime fields of expertise – the “Blue Mining” consortium.
The consortium will develop solutions that will bring deep-sea mining a significant step closer. The “Blue Mining” project will address all aspects of the value chain in this field, from resource discovery to assessment, and from exploitation technologies to the legal and regulatory framework. The goal is to create breakthrough solutions for the sustainable exploration and extraction of deep-sea mineral resources. IHC Merwede is leading the project and Uniresearch is providing administrative services.
Press Release, May 02, 2014; Image: Nautilus Minerals