Deep Sea Mining Loses its Biggest Corporate Backer
By Todd Woody (Bloomberg) — A growing number of countries are calling to delay plans to strip-mine the seabed for metals to make electric car batteries as US defense giant Lockheed Martin Corp.,...
Norwegian deep-sea mining company Loke Marine Minerals has acquired the deep-sea mineral business UK Seabed Resources (UKSR), which holds 100% interest in two UK-sponsored licenses in the mineral-rich Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ) in the Pacific Ocean.
With the acquisition, Loke will become one of the largest license holders in the CCZ.
The CCZ is a 1.7-million-square-mile fracture zone in the eastern Pacific Ocean that contains trillions of potato-size polymetallic nodules lying unattached on seafloor or just below. The rock-like deposits contain important metals such as nickel, copper, manganese, and cobalt that are used for the production of batteries for electric vehicles and other renewable energy technologies. Their extraction from places like the CCZ could help meet the increasing demand for these metals in the global energy transition.
New Polymetallic Nodules Collection System Tested Key Region of the Pacific Ocean
“This acquisition accelerates Loke’s exploration plans, and ambition to deliver the safe production of nodules with as minimal an environmental impact as possible,” said Loke CEO Walter Sognnes. “Loke aims to make a Field Investment Decision in 2027 and start production in 2030. We are excited to have the UK as the sponsor state and see this as a natural continuation of the strong existing UK-Norway strategic cooperation in the offshore oil and gas industry.”
UKSR was sold by Lockheed Martin UK. The company also holds a 19.9% interest in the Ocean Mineral Singapore ISA license in the CCZ, which was included in the sale.
The licenses are issued by the International Seabed Authority, an intergovernmental organization established under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to regulate deep-sea mining activities in the international waters.
Although ISA has issued exploration contracts to several countries and companies, it has not yet authorized any commercial-scale deep-sea mining as it works to develop regulations and a framework for environmental management and monitoring of deep sea mining activities.
Read Next: More Governments Are Turning Against the Deep Sea Mining Rush
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