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A concept for seabed rare earth mining in the eastern South Pacific

A concept for seabed rare earth mining in the eastern South Pacific
A concept for seabed rare earth mining in the eastern South Pacific
This report presents a concept for mining of rare earth elements from seabed sediment in a promising area of the eastern South Pacific. The document begins with an introduction to the seabed, its regulation and resources. The rare earth elements and their uses, production
and trade are then considered – although demand for rare earths is forecast to grow, price forecasts are very difficult.

The available data on rare earth elements in seabed sediment is analysed, and a promising region selected for investigation; acoustic and geophysical/geochemical methods to explore and gather new data using underwater vehicles are discussed.

The environmental, legal and social context of the chosen mining site is considered and the impacts of mining on the environment analysed; suspended sediment and tailings release are identified as major issues. It is clear that much is still not understood about the potential environmental effects of deep sea mining.

A system for mining seabed mud rich in rare earth elements is then proposed – the method involves processing on the seafloor to minimise the volume that must be lifted to the surface and eliminate the uneconomic riser system. Aspects of this seabed processing apparatus are considered in some detail, though many problems remain unresolved.

Finally, some financial and risk analyses of the project are completed, making an assumption that successful exploration has taken place
978-0854329496
University of Southampton
Bashir, M.B.
2b131f4d-73e9-4198-807e-cbdc4742d15e
Kim, S.H.
1e5e8a15-6524-419a-b2f9-73e9653de401
Kiosidou, E.
fe34f4ae-6c02-49ba-a44d-651910d7b5da
Wolgamot, H.
5b831523-37e9-4878-a53d-c26745a62eb9
Zhang, W
e7ac3aeb-ecaf-462b-80f4-91bae68ebf4f
Shenoi, R.A.
a37b4e0a-06f1-425f-966d-71e6fa299960
Wilson, P.A.
8307fa11-5d5e-47f6-9961-9d43767afa00
Bennett, S.S.
6c2fda55-1416-4cfa-ab39-9f6eea640b95
Bashir, M.B.
2b131f4d-73e9-4198-807e-cbdc4742d15e
Kim, S.H.
1e5e8a15-6524-419a-b2f9-73e9653de401
Kiosidou, E.
fe34f4ae-6c02-49ba-a44d-651910d7b5da
Wolgamot, H.
5b831523-37e9-4878-a53d-c26745a62eb9
Zhang, W
e7ac3aeb-ecaf-462b-80f4-91bae68ebf4f
Shenoi, R.A.
a37b4e0a-06f1-425f-966d-71e6fa299960
Wilson, P.A.
8307fa11-5d5e-47f6-9961-9d43767afa00
Bennett, S.S.
6c2fda55-1416-4cfa-ab39-9f6eea640b95

Bashir, M.B., Kim, S.H., Kiosidou, E., Wolgamot, H. and Zhang, W , Shenoi, R.A., Wilson, P.A. and Bennett, S.S. (eds.) (2012) A concept for seabed rare earth mining in the eastern South Pacific (The LRET Collegium 2012 Series: Seabed Exploitation, 1), vol. 1, University of Southampton, 138pp.

Record type: Book

Abstract

This report presents a concept for mining of rare earth elements from seabed sediment in a promising area of the eastern South Pacific. The document begins with an introduction to the seabed, its regulation and resources. The rare earth elements and their uses, production
and trade are then considered – although demand for rare earths is forecast to grow, price forecasts are very difficult.

The available data on rare earth elements in seabed sediment is analysed, and a promising region selected for investigation; acoustic and geophysical/geochemical methods to explore and gather new data using underwater vehicles are discussed.

The environmental, legal and social context of the chosen mining site is considered and the impacts of mining on the environment analysed; suspended sediment and tailings release are identified as major issues. It is clear that much is still not understood about the potential environmental effects of deep sea mining.

A system for mining seabed mud rich in rare earth elements is then proposed – the method involves processing on the seafloor to minimise the volume that must be lifted to the surface and eliminate the uneconomic riser system. Aspects of this seabed processing apparatus are considered in some detail, though many problems remain unresolved.

Finally, some financial and risk analyses of the project are completed, making an assumption that successful exploration has taken place

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Published date: 2012
Organisations: Fluid Structure Interactions Group

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 349887
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/349887
ISBN: 978-0854329496
PURE UUID: 8c90d3f6-6d7d-459f-9e99-4a7276932886
ORCID for P.A. Wilson: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-6939-682X

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Date deposited: 13 Mar 2013 11:22
Last modified: 06 Jun 2018 13:17

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Contributors

Author: M.B. Bashir
Author: S.H. Kim
Author: E. Kiosidou
Author: H. Wolgamot
Author: W Zhang
Editor: R.A. Shenoi
Editor: P.A. Wilson ORCID iD
Editor: S.S. Bennett

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