TMC's NORI Submits Vast Environmental Data for Seabed Mining Application

The Metals Company's subsidiary NORI submits a comprehensive environmental data set to the International Seabed Authority as part of its application for an exploitation contract in the Clarion Clipperton Zone. The submission includes 32,617 benthic and 42,036 pelagic biological occurrences, 12,000 seafloor images, and extensive time-series data from three years of monitoring.

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Bijay Laxmi
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TMC's NORI Submits Vast Environmental Data for Seabed Mining Application

TMC's NORI Submits Vast Environmental Data for Seabed Mining Application

The Metals Company Inc. (TMC) has announced that its subsidiary, NORI, has submitted a comprehensive set of environmental data to the International Seabed Authority (ISA) as part of its application for an exploitation contract in the Clarion Clipperton Zone (CCZ). The submission, made on May 13, 2024, includes 32,617 benthic and 42,036 pelagic biological occurrences, 12,000 seafloor images, and extensive time-series data from three years of monitoring.

This massive data submission is the result of NORI's decade-long research efforts to define the polymetallic nodule resource and develop an environmental baseline for its NORI-D exploration area. The data, collected from all prior environmental baseline campaigns conducted in the area up to January 2022, has been submitted to DeepData, an open database of contractor data managed by the ISA.

Why this matters: This submission of comprehensive environmental data has significant implications for the future of deep-sea mining and its potential impact on the environment. As the world transitions to renewable energy sources, the demand for metals like those found in polymetallic nodules is likely to increase, making it crucial to understand and mitigate the environmental effects of extracting these resources.

Dr. Michael Clarke, Environmental Manager at The Metals Company, emphasized the significance of this data submission, stating, "This accumulation of baseline data over the last decade represents the most comprehensive dataset ever collected in the CCZ. When combined and compared with the wealth of data gathered during our 2022 test mining and post-disturbance monitoring campaigns, we believe preliminary analysis is demonstrating that much of the conjecture around environmental impacts of nodule collection is not supported by the science." article

Since 2012, TMC has collaborated with leading industry experts and independent scientists from marine research institutions around the world on its Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA), gathering data throughout 22 offshore campaigns. Over 300 offshore campaigns have been conducted in international waters since the late 1960s, with over $2 billion invested in environmental baseline and impact studies and technology development.

The Metals Company is an explorer of lower-impact battery metals from seafloor polymetallic nodules, with a dual mission to supply metals for the global energy transition while minimizing negative impacts on the planet and people. NORI expects numerous further papers to be published in peer-reviewed journals in the coming months and years, adding significantly to society's understanding of the deep sea.

The submission of this comprehensive environmental data marks a significant milestone in NORI's application for an exploitation contract in the CCZ. The data will provide valuable insights into the potential environmental impacts of deep-sea nodule collection and contribute to informed decision-making by the ISA and other stakeholders.

Key Takeaways

  • NORI submits largest deep-sea environmental data set to International Seabed Authority.
  • Data includes 32,617 benthic and 42,036 pelagic biological occurrences, 12,000 seafloor images.
  • Submission marks significant milestone in NORI's application for exploitation contract in CCZ.
  • Data will provide valuable insights into potential environmental impacts of deep-sea nodule collection.
  • Submission demonstrates TMC's commitment to responsible and sustainable deep-sea mining practices.