Summary of Abstract Submission

Abstract Submission No. IO50-12-0001PresentationPoster


Rahul Sharma*1

1 CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography, India


Exploration for mineral resources from deep-sea areas by several ┐Contractors┐ under the UNCLOS and development of technologies for deep-sea mining by contractors as well as private entrepreneurs have been progressing consistently. It is estimated that a typical area of 75,000 sq km with an estimated nodule resource of >200 mi t., is expected to yield about 54 million tonnes of metals (Mn+Ni+Cu+Co) and the gross in-place value of the metals is estimated to be ~$ 21-42 billion (depending upon the annual rate of mining) in 20 years life span of a mine-site. However, the major challenge for the mining technology development would be up-scaling and integration of the subsystems so as to make them operational for ~300 days / year under extreme environmental conditions such as 1-2o C temperature, ~500 bars pressure, total darkness, cross cutting currents at different levels in the water column, uneven micro-topography, variable seafloor characteristics and heterogeneous nodule distribution. The miner should be a self propelled active device, with acoustic sensors to be able to detect ┐promising areas┐ and to avoid unfavourable areas, in order to save on power consumption and time, and be cost effective. From the environmental point of view, the mining plan must consider separation of nodules from the associated sediment near the seafloor, lifting of minimum possible sediment to the surface, discharge of debris after initial at-sea processing below the oxygen minimum zone and ┐constructive┐ use of unwanted material after extraction of metals from the ores, to ensure minimum impact of mining.