The Maersk Supply Service multi-purpose vessel, Maersk Launcher, has left San Diego port for its first deep sea mineral offshore study.
The departure marks a milestone for Maersk Supply Service’s work with deep sea metal company, DeepGreen.
MSS began working with DeepGreen in 2017, to bring marine knowledge to the development of a method for harvesting polymetallic nodules in a sustainable way.
The nodules contain metals such as copper, cobalt, manganese and nickel, which are valuable materials for electronics, as well as batteries used for renewable technologies.
The offshore work targets the Clarion Clipperton Zone of the Pacific Ocean at a water depth of 4,500 meters.
A total of five voyages are planned for 2018 and 2019. The first four are centered around environmental studies and documentation of the seabed.
The offshore work will occur under the regulation of the United Nations’ International Seabed Authority (ISA), which will ensure the best practices and demand minimal environmental impact.
Maersk Supply Service has committed to supporting five marine voyages. The contribution includes two vessels, as well as project services. Maersk Supply Service’s contribution of approximately USD 25 million will be converted to DeepGreen shares.
“We are pleased to see that our specialised assets are being utilised in a unique and whole new market area. Although deep sea mineral recovery is in an early stage and production is a few years away, it is a promising business area with the potential for significant future growth and links into Maersk Supply Service’s overall strategy about diversifying its business into new markets,” says CEO of Maersk Supply Service, Steen S. Karstensen.
DeepGreen Metal’s subsidiary, Nauru Ocean Research Inc. (NORI), will carry out scientific and resource surveys within a 75,000-square kilometer contract area, granted to NORI by the United Nations’ International Seabed Authority (ISA).
“This voyage is a continuation of the work required in preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement that NORI aims to submit to the ISA, a necessary step to move the exploration license to exploitation license, which will enable NORI to bring these essential metals for our future to the surface where they will be treated onshore using DeepGreen’s patented processing technology, which aims to produce zero waste,” said Gerard Barron, CEO of DeepGreen. “We believe these future metals can be produced responsibly, protecting ocean health, while avoiding the deforestation, pollution and child labor that too often are part of traditional mining.”