23 May, 2012
Deep Sea Mining
23 May 2012 North of England Branch Evening Meeting
Chairman Andrew Pople, Principal Consultant (Subsea), Atkins
Sponsored by Soil Machine Dynamics (SMD)
Deep Sea Manganese Nodule Mining – The Next Wave of Research
Jon Machin, Director, Geomarine Ltd
During the 1970s a sum of around USD1 Billion (at today’s value) was spent on manganese nodule research & development, including three integrated mining tests, two deep sea collector tests, several airlift and other pumping tests, numerous laboratory scale tests of slurries and collectors, and much design, engineering and analysis testing. The basic technology was proven but not commercialised due to changes in the global economic outlook for commodities. The economic winds have changed once again and many believe that Deep Sea Manganese Nodule mining could be the industry’s next wave. Several consortia are currently planning new research and development programs which will use the original findings, but now in conjunction with 40 years of deep sea equipment and riser development expertise transferred from the oilfield.
This talk reviewed the history of Deep Sea Manganese Nodules and attempts to take a look at their future.
Deep Sea Mining: The Emerging Market and Progress on Design & Build of Subsea Production Tools
Stef Kapusniak, Business Manager (Mining), SMD; Keith Franklin, Delivery Manager, Nautilus Minerals Inc; and Nick Ridley, Principal Engineer, SMD
Opportunities in the emerging sub-sea mining market will be discussed with reference to a variety of mineral opportunities. Additionally, progress with the design and manufacture of three subsea production tools for Nautilus’ Solwara copper-gold deposit will be described. This seafloor massive sulphide deposit is a mile below the surface of the Bismarck Sea, off Papua New Guinea. SMD’s previous success with trenching machines at similar depths and Nautilus’ subsea exploration expertise have enabled this unique project to move closer to reality. Successful mining in 2013 will open up a market with amazing potential – similar to previous moves in oil and gas from land-based to offshore operations. As base metal prices continue to rise, remote subsea vehicle technologies are being adopted and enhanced to allow economic access to deeper reserves.