DBPapers
DOI: 10.5593/sgem2012/s03.v1015

DEEP-SEA POLYMETALLIC NODULES: RENEWED INTEREST AS RESOURCES FOR ENVIRONMENTALLY SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

T. ABRAMOWSKI, V. STOYANNOVA
Wednesday 1 August 2012 by Libadmin2012

References: 12th International Multidisciplinary Scientific GeoConference, www.sgem.org, SGEM2012 Conference Proceedings/ ISSN 1314-2704, June 17-23, 2012, Vol. 1, 515 - 522 pp

ABSTRACT

Deep-sea polymetallic nodules have been traditionally considered as a potential
resource for Ni, Cu, Mn and Co, however the recent research showed that they contain a
large variety of metals, including molybdenum, zinc, zirconium, lithium, platinum,
titanium, germanium, yttrium, and REEs, which increased their combined value as an
alternative supplies for expanding economies and emerging green energy technologies.
The highest nodule abundance (more than 10 kg/m2) with the high average percentage
of metals (at least 2.5 % combined content for Ni+Cu, 0.2% Co, 30% Mn, 0.15% Zn,
0.07% Mo, etc.) were found at seafloor in the eastern equatorial Pacific (Clarion-
Clipperton Fracture Zone, CCZ) and in the central equatorial Indian Ocean.
Within the recent decade, the International Seabed Authority (ISA) granted to ten
national and multinational entities (Japan, China, Korea, India, Russian Federation,
France, Germany, Tonga, Nauru, and Interoceanmetal Joint Organization) exclusive 15-
years contracts for polymetallic nodules exploration in ten claim areas, each covering
75000 km2 in the international seabed area. The commercial viability of nodule mining
has yet to be established, but the size of deposits, the grade of several metals contained
in nodules as well as the promising trends in metal market continue to motivate
contractors to carry out their exploration activity.
This paper discusses the renewed importance of polymetallic nodule in the context of
forecasted increasing demands for metals coupled with their environmentally
advantages as alternative sources to land-based mining.

Keywords: polymetallic nodules, exploration activity, Clarion-Clipperton Zone.

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