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(edited)

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/01/20000-feet-under-the-sea/603040/

 

History’s Largest Mining Operation Is About to Begin

It’s underwater—and the consequences are unimaginable.

The oil industry has been the largest miner in the oceans up until now. Methane hydrates may be mined in a few decades. Many metallic and other minerals will now be mined very soon. What is the outlook? Will we carefully preserve the watery environment that covers far more than the continents do? Who will oversee the miners that are now getting ready to start large dredging operations and send billions of tons of silt and its contents up in plumes that will travel for many miles? What issues are involved environmentally, economically, and legally? RCW

illustration of the ocean

Edited by ronwagn
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Imagine what companies will claim v. what they actually do underwater....

Not a pleasant thought.

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Namibia has been dredging offshore sand for years in the search for diamonds and been very successful in doing so.

I don't technically see this as mining but this is now happening in the conventional sense, cobalt is especially high on the agenda.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/03/deep-sea-mining-to-turn-oceans-into-new-industrial-frontier

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On 12/19/2019 at 2:15 AM, Dan Warnick said:

Imagine what companies will claim v. what they actually do underwater....

Not a pleasant thought.

Actually considering how mining companies conduct themselfes in developing countries I actually think this will be overall good for the envoriment. 

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The essense of this article rests in poetic hyperbole, usage of: „is about to”.

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On 12/23/2019 at 8:54 AM, Marcin said:

The essense of this article rests in poetic hyperbole, usage of: „is about to”.

Sort of like Global Warming, Climate Change, and now Climate Catastrophe?

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I'm excited for this to take off. Uranium from the ocean, if successfully commercialized, could help drive down operating costs for nuclear power even further, allowing electricity from these plants to be competitive with gas. That's a giant IF though. We still have to deal with people who don't understand Gen IV technology. 

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On 12/23/2019 at 6:54 PM, Rasmus Jorgensen said:

Actually considering how mining companies conduct themselfes in developing countries I actually think this will be overall good for the envoriment. 

Hi Rasmus.  Your comment surprised me, but then I don't know how they conduct themselves.  Please expound.

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4 hours ago, Dan Warnick said:

Hi Rasmus.  Your comment surprised me, but then I don't know how they conduct themselves.  Please expound.

I have no direct experience with mining operations, but I have read several articles about pollution from mining operations in the developing the developing world and China. Offshore mining operations are much more likely to be done to western standards as the contractors are mainly western. That is exactly one of the marketing parameters for this JV

https://www.maritime-executive.com/article/maersk-supply-service-in-new-deep-sea-mining-venture 

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55 minutes ago, Rasmus Jorgensen said:

I have no direct experience with mining operations, but I have read several articles about pollution from mining operations in the developing the developing world and China. Offshore mining operations are much more likely to be done to western standards as the contractors are mainly western. That is exactly one of the marketing parameters for this JV

https://www.maritime-executive.com/article/maersk-supply-service-in-new-deep-sea-mining-venture 

Okay.  So you are saying that you are hopeful that the deep sea mining contractors will act more responsibly than what mining companies in the 3rd world (land) have to date.  And that, that is what the articles you have read indicate.

Call me cynical, but are the deep sea mining companies to be trusted?  How will authorities gauge their impact on the ocean and sea beds?  Will the authorities check, or will they take the contractor's word for it?

Keep in mind I have no credentials or experience of any kind; just being the devil's advocate, as they say.

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(edited)

2 hours ago, Rasmus Jorgensen said:

I have no direct experience with mining operations, but I have read several articles about pollution from mining operations in the developing the developing world and China. Offshore mining operations are much more likely to be done to western standards as the contractors are mainly western. That is exactly one of the marketing parameters for this JV

https://www.maritime-executive.com/article/maersk-supply-service-in-new-deep-sea-mining-venture 

Okay gentlemen, let’s get realistic about this. Any comparison that you might make in regards to ANY mining done to date on planet Earth and a mining operation at a depth of ‘20,000 feet under the sea’ will be flawed. At this point in time, the kit to successfully dredge at this depth does not even exist and will need to be developed!

A few facts to consider:

At 20,000 feet of water, depending on salinity, the pressure on bottom is roughly 10,000 psi.

At this depth the water temperature is around 35 degree F.

20,000 feet of a single 3/4” IWRC steel cable weighs roughly 10,000 pounds

Edited by Douglas Buckland
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17 minutes ago, Douglas Buckland said:

Okay gentlemen, let’s get realistic about this. Any comparison that you might make in regards to ANY mining done to date on planet Earth and a mining operation at a depth of ‘20,000 feet under the sea’ will be flawed. At this point in time, the kit to successfully dredge at this depth does not even exist and will need to be developed!

A few facts to consider:

At 20,000 feet of water, depending on salinity, the pressure on bottom is roughly 10,000 psi.

At this depth the water temperature is around 35 degree F.

20,000 feet of a single 3/4” IWRC steel cable weighs roughly 10,000 pounds

So, for the time being anyway, it is pluck a nugget or two and return to surface?  Yes, it would seem there is a long way to go.  Which might be why those contracts (development contracts?) have been released so easily?

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2 hours ago, Dan Warnick said:

Call me cynical, but are the deep sea mining companies to be trusted?  How will authorities gauge their impact on the ocean and sea beds?  Will the authorities check, or will they take the contractor's word for it?

They will to a large extent be relying on a supply-chain form offshore oil and gas. The organisations capable of doing this sort of thing tend to have a strong safety and enviromental track record. And they are publicly traded in the West, so will to some extent be held accountable by the greenie public...

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33 minutes ago, Douglas Buckland said:

Okay gentlemen, let’s get realistic about this. Any comparison that you might make in regards to ANY mining done to date on planet Earth and a mining operation at a depth of ‘20,000 feet under the sea’ will be flawed. At this point in time, the kit to successfully dredge at this depth does not even exist and will need to be developed!

https://subseaworldnews.com/2019/06/11/deepgreen-and-allseas-form-seafloor-mining-alliance/

Allseas have some engineering wizs..

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(edited)

I see.  Makes sense.  Thanks.  (although I'm absolutely positive some of our oil platform old-hands can tell some stories??!??

 

Edited by Dan Warnick
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The Sedco 445 or 471 was rigged up to mine manganese nodules from the seabed back around 1985. As far as I know, nothing ever came of this.

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(edited)

6 minutes ago, Rasmus Jorgensen said:

They just had to get that politically correct ‘greenspeak’ in that article, didn’t they.

I wonder if they are aware of the fact that the vast majority of the technology they will be relying on was pioneered by the offshore oil industry...😂

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Well, nobody gives a damn about over-fishing, so I don’t think they’ll give a damn about mining the seafloor.

 I wonder how many of the 168 members of the ISA body actually have any idea what they are talking about or is it just a bunch of tree huggers determined to shut down ANY industry which they do not agree with? Anybody know anything about the ISO membership?

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That was a very fanciful article in my opinion. They talked many years ago about dredging manganese nodules from the seabed but as far as I know it's not been done comercially (might be wrong there)

The idea of 'mining' from submarine trenches which is caused by a subduction zone is pretty way out there, like mining asteroids. Viable in god knows how many years time probably but not today. They are incredably deep and as they did admit even sending ROVs down there is a major challenge due to the pressures. They have in the past dumped nuclear waste in those trenches becasue the pressure prevents water circulation I believe and keeps the radiation (even leaking) in a fairly small area...you can read about sunk nuclear subs to find out more.

Also any ideas of destroying hydrothermal vents which are found at the opposite end of a techtonic plate (where new crust is being formed not destroyed) would be a very bad idea, there is a massive amount of life around those vents (often called 'black smokers').

Interestingly I live near one of the oldest copper mines in the world, the ore coming from what was a hydrothermal vent/black smoker type environment.

Before anyone picks holes, I didn't read the whole thing carefully, it was so long and sounded like a bit like an advert but from what I gathered they were talking about extracting ore/mentals from three distinct and very different parts of the ocean floor, one (nodule dredging) being a very possible reality (but destructive) and the other two pie in the sky.

 

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