THE DEEP SEA MINING PILOT - AN INTERDISCIPLINARY APPROACH TO DEEP SEA MINING
Growth in marine sectors including sea-based renewables, deep-sea mining or surveying and monitoring of the ocean space in tough environments require research and innovation. This calls for an interdisciplinary approach. The JORC code defines mineral resources and reserves and sets out rules for presentation of exploration results and resource and reserve estimations. Traditionally this and similar codes have been applied to onshore mineral deposits, but its principles can and should also be applied to marine minerals. The resource and its classification is a function of the amount and the quality of the available geodata. The definition of reserves is a function of modifying factors that defines boundary conditions on the resource and thereby limits the amount that can be mined.
“Plate tectonics is responsible for the resource” and experts from a great variety of disciplines are responsible for the definition of a reserve.
This calls for an interdisciplinary approach when assessing the technical and financial feasibility of mineral deposits on the deep ocean floor. NTNU has responded to this challenge by defining a “deep-sea mining pilot project”. This is an interdisciplinary project with a total of 14 PhD-candidates and post doc fellows that work on topics ranging from ore geology, resource evaluation, marine mineral exploration, platform development, mining system development, vertical transportation, environmental aspects, ethics of deep sea mining, historical development of international laws and regulations and energy supply. This project attacks both the axis along which the mineral resources are classified and the axis along the modifying factors used to define reserves. The presentation will describe the deep-sea mining pilot project and its individual contributions in a mineral resource management perspective.