The reality is that we have already discovered and mined most of the easily available metal resources on land. As a rule, the grade of resources is in decline. And while there are more metals to be found on land, it means going to increasingly remote and sensitive places, moving more and more forests and earth, to develop a mine.
It’s time for a new approach. And DeepGreen has it.
These essential battery metals for our future — cobalt, nickel, copper, manganese — are contained in metal-rich seafloor polymetallic nodules that rest on the deep ocean floor. With today’s technology, we can lift them to the surface, take them to shore and process them with zero tailings. No deforestation. And with careful attention not to harm the ocean’s future.
Polymetallic nodules aren’t a new discovery. They were first found more than a century ago on the surface of the Pacific Ocean floor. In the 1970s four consortia started to collect these in trials, spending approximately $1 billion in today’s dollars. Tests confirmed that the nodules could be harvested and processed to produce metals using the technology available at the time in the 1970s.
However, production of these future metals was put on hold because they were in international waters, and a regulatory regime to grant exclusive rights was not in place. That’s now been resolved. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea created the International Seabed Authority, through which exploration contracts can be obtained. DeepGreen’s subsidiary, Nauru Ocean Resources Inc. (NORI), was granted an exploration licence in 2011, covering74,830sq km
Subsidiaries of Lockheed Martin, China Minmetals, Keppel, and DEME have also secured exploration contracts, as well as government organizations from Japan, Korea, Russia, France and Germany.
Imagine DeepGreen Inside
To be part of the sustainable future, and win markets, companies must have a reliable — and responsible — source for key battery metals.
With DeepGreen you will know the metals inside the smartphone, electric vehicles, wind turbines, electrical storage systems, or whatever you produce, meet today’s consumer and citizen demands. They must be produced in an ethical, environmentally responsible manner, with a commitment to zero impact on local populations and the planet.
DeepGreen offers that.
DeepGreen’s international team of scientists and engineers are focused on bringing these essential future metals to the world, to put us on a true path to a sustainable future. We are using the latest deep-sea technology, environmental science, and mineral processing technology, to ensure minimum impact on the environment. Our mission is to produce these metals for our future and reduce global reliance on fossil fuels, to build a sustainable and prosperous future for all citizens.
But there is even a bigger idea. The polymetallic nodules on the ocean floor contain the metals we need in such abundance, that responsibly harvesting and injecting the metals into the economy could enable us to move to a global model of recycling.
We don’t have enough metals for our future yet. But we see a world in which DeepGreen and the partners who work with us will eventually be in the metal recycling business.
Future metals — contained in fields of metal-rich polymetallic nodules sitting on the deep-ocean floor — will be lifted to a surface ship and taken to a port to be responsibly processed. There will be no drilling, explosives or mine tailings in the ocean or land.
To ensure ocean health, DeepGreen — with its partners and under the regulation of the UN International Seabed Authority — is carrying out environmental and engineering studies to ensure that any impacts to the oceans is minimized.
Deep-sea harvesters, specially designed to minimize impact, gather selected metal-rich nodules about 4 km below the surface.
· Using a lift system, the metals for our future are lifted to the surface ship.
· What is recovered is taken to land for DeepGreen’s patented processing, with a goal of zero waste.
· We continue with constant science, to measure and record our efforts, with a goal to ensuring ocean health in everything we do now, and in the future.
Zero-waste Onshore Processing
Mining with no tailings? Yes, it is possible.
With our patented process, DeepGreen intends to be a leader in the low-cost production of high-value metals and products derived from seafloor polymetallic nodules. Our hydrometallurgical processing technology is designed to efficiently extract and produce high-grade manganese, nickel, copper and cobalt products.
It is our objective to process metals with zero tailings. This would be a major development for the minerals industry, where currently the disposal of large volumes of tailings is one of the biggest environmental impacts imposed by land-based mining.
Key attributes of the DeepGreen Process include:
- Operates at atmospheric pressure and medium temperature.
- Aims for zero tailings generation.
- Aims to produce LME grade, nickel, cobalt and premium-grade manganese dioxide and copper-sulphide products.
- Aims to produce additional products such as zinc-sulphide concentrate, high-grade silica and iron hydroxide, as well as a nitrogen-calcium feed for the fertilizer industry.
- Will not have to deal with large volumes of clay and waste gypsum, as is typical with many processes today.