A rare sign of progress for deep sea mining

DeepGreen, a start-up that wants to suck cobalt and other battery metals from the bottom of the ocean, has secured the backing of offshore pipeline company Allseas as part of a $150 million funding round. The financing is a rare sign of progress for deep sea mining after years of regulatory uncertainty and environmental concerns. Switzerland-based Allseas will provide the bulk of the $150 million and contribute engineering expertise… The money will enable the company to carry out feasibility studies on how it can suck small metallic rocks containing cobalt, nickel and manganese from the seabed, thousands of metres below the surface… Supporters of deep sea mining say it offers an alternative to land-based mining and can help the world meet an expected surge in demand for metals from batteries over the next decade. More than 60 per cent of the world’s cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, while nickel is mined in Indonesia, Russia and New Caledonia. DeepGreen says the carbon dioxide produced from lifting nodules from the sea floor is lower than land-based mining… But critics say mining the deep sea risks destroying sensitive and unexplored habitats at the bottom of the ocean… Allseas is a private company known for having built the world’s largest construction vessel, the PioneeringSpirit…
 
Henry Sanderson

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