The Metals Company (TMC) (NASDAQ: TMC) is hunting the seafloor for polymetallic nodules that could play a role in supplying battery metals. Today it announced it is returning to the site of last year’s nodule collection tests to assess seafloor impacts and recovery rates 12 months after the test.
The test was conducted by TMC subsidiary Nauru Ocean Resources. TMC holds exploration and commercial rights to three areas in the Clarion Clipperton zone of the Pacific Ocean between Mexico and Hawaii. The rights were granted by the International Seabed Authority and sponsored by the governments of Nauru, Kiribati, and the Kingdom of Tonga. Approximately 3,000 tonnes of modules have been collected.
TMC is sending a team back to NORI-D, the site of last year’s work, as it continues its environmental studies in preparation for commercial mining. Application for the permit is anticipated in 2024.
Research teams will use an array of box-core and multi-core samples as well as various benthic lander systems to assess the impact of previous operations on the plants and animals on the seafloor. They will also start long-term monitoring on the TOML-F area held by subsidiary Tonga Offshore Mining. This area and NORD-D are adjacent.
The idea of mining on the seafloor has stirred up vociferous opposition, but TMN insists its operation will have much less environmental impact than terrestrial mining. Commercial production is planned for 2025.
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