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Polymetallic nodule mining: innovative concepts for commercialisation

Polymetallic nodule mining: innovative concepts for commercialisation
Polymetallic nodule mining: innovative concepts for commercialisation
Seabed resources of value to the modern economy include oil and gas reserves, placerdeposits including diamonds and gold, and minerals found in the form of Seafloor Massive
Sulfides, Sediments, Crusts and Polymetallic (Manganese) Nodules.

A review of the published literature from previous research studies and field trials indicates that polymetallic nodules (PMN) are one of the most attractive marine mineral resources for commercial exploitation. Despite this the review clearly demonstrates a significant gap between the profitability of a PMN mining venture and that necessary to attract commercial investment. The level of investment risk for current polymetallic nodule mining warrants a
return on investment (IRR) of 30-35%. The most optimistic projections for returns at current prices and using current technology are in the range 15-20%. Under these circumstances polymetallic nodule mining will not be commercially viable until risks are reduced or metal prices rise substantially.

In light of this finding a review of the technical, environmental, financial and legal-social aspects of marine mining was carried out with a view to identifying opportunities to reduce the level of investment risk.

Based on this analysis recommendations are made for technical and strategic decisions that may reduce the investment risk and remove the barrier to commercial seabed mining. Among these recommendations is a new concept for a PMN collector designed for greater efficiency and reduced downtime and a processing system that combines marine nodule
feedstock with land-based laterites.

In addition to these two primary concepts a number of other technology-related areas are identified for reducing risk. Principles designed to increase the reliability of a marine
mining system are illustrated in the form of ancillary concepts.

Finally the underlying principles behind these concepts are summarised and discussed in detail to provide recommendations for potential technology proponents on the various methods to reduce the investment risk confronting marine mining.
978-0854329533
University of Southampton
Flentje, Warren
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Lee, Sang Eui
65b5016f-dc3c-4e35-acf5-371a0aebb5a8
Virnovskaia, Anastasia
3a8712ed-e92b-4056-948c-4ddb73d4d3b5
Wang, Shiping
d67b962a-781e-4772-8dee-de330d8ea767
Zabeen, Suraiya
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Shenoi, R.A.
a37b4e0a-06f1-425f-966d-71e6fa299960
Wilson, P.A.
8307fa11-5d5e-47f6-9961-9d43767afa00
Bennett, S.S.
6c2fda55-1416-4cfa-ab39-9f6eea640b95
Flentje, Warren
32e464fb-9b83-4f5d-9035-f7f0596282cc
Lee, Sang Eui
65b5016f-dc3c-4e35-acf5-371a0aebb5a8
Virnovskaia, Anastasia
3a8712ed-e92b-4056-948c-4ddb73d4d3b5
Wang, Shiping
d67b962a-781e-4772-8dee-de330d8ea767
Zabeen, Suraiya
b225d0f2-4082-4478-a02f-9cda548bd821
Shenoi, R.A.
a37b4e0a-06f1-425f-966d-71e6fa299960
Wilson, P.A.
8307fa11-5d5e-47f6-9961-9d43767afa00
Bennett, S.S.
6c2fda55-1416-4cfa-ab39-9f6eea640b95

Flentje, Warren, Lee, Sang Eui, Virnovskaia, Anastasia, Wang, Shiping and Zabeen, Suraiya , Shenoi, R.A., Wilson, P.A. and Bennett, S.S. (eds.) (2012) Polymetallic nodule mining: innovative concepts for commercialisation (The LRET Collegium 2012 Series: Seabed Exploitation, 5), vol. 5, University of Southampton, 132pp.

Record type: Book

Abstract

Seabed resources of value to the modern economy include oil and gas reserves, placerdeposits including diamonds and gold, and minerals found in the form of Seafloor Massive
Sulfides, Sediments, Crusts and Polymetallic (Manganese) Nodules.

A review of the published literature from previous research studies and field trials indicates that polymetallic nodules (PMN) are one of the most attractive marine mineral resources for commercial exploitation. Despite this the review clearly demonstrates a significant gap between the profitability of a PMN mining venture and that necessary to attract commercial investment. The level of investment risk for current polymetallic nodule mining warrants a
return on investment (IRR) of 30-35%. The most optimistic projections for returns at current prices and using current technology are in the range 15-20%. Under these circumstances polymetallic nodule mining will not be commercially viable until risks are reduced or metal prices rise substantially.

In light of this finding a review of the technical, environmental, financial and legal-social aspects of marine mining was carried out with a view to identifying opportunities to reduce the level of investment risk.

Based on this analysis recommendations are made for technical and strategic decisions that may reduce the investment risk and remove the barrier to commercial seabed mining. Among these recommendations is a new concept for a PMN collector designed for greater efficiency and reduced downtime and a processing system that combines marine nodule
feedstock with land-based laterites.

In addition to these two primary concepts a number of other technology-related areas are identified for reducing risk. Principles designed to increase the reliability of a marine
mining system are illustrated in the form of ancillary concepts.

Finally the underlying principles behind these concepts are summarised and discussed in detail to provide recommendations for potential technology proponents on the various methods to reduce the investment risk confronting marine mining.

Text
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Published date: 2012
Organisations: Aeronautics, Astronautics & Comp. Eng, Fluid Structure Interactions Group

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 349892
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/349892
ISBN: 978-0854329533
PURE UUID: a6e4b6ea-6928-4dd3-b14e-265ed3c1a8a7
ORCID for P.A. Wilson: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-6939-682X

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Date deposited: 13 Mar 2013 09:28
Last modified: 07 Jul 2020 00:24

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