Canadian company DeepGreen Metals has launched a new deep-sea research campaign to meet the global demand for nickel and other battery metals.
The Environmental Expedition 4E research campaign will be conducted within the NORI-D contract area of the Clarion Clipperton Zone (CCZ) in the Pacific Ocean.
It follows the successful completion of the Environmental Expedition 5D research project on deep-sea food chains, biodiversity, geochemistry, and nutrient cycles in the site.
The two expeditions form part of a multi-year, $75m deep-sea research programme.
This programme is intended to establish an environmental baseline and assess the potential impacts of operations proposed by DeepGreen to source critical battery minerals from seafloor polymetallic nodules.
To be led by CSA Ocean Sciences (CSA), the Environmental Expedition 4E expedition represents the fourth of seven research campaigns planned to be conducted in CCZ over a period of 14 months.
It will be carried out by The Metals Company, which will be the entity formed through the merger between DeepGreen Metals and Sustainable Opportunities Acquisition (SOAC).
The Metals Company chairman and CEO Gerard Barron said: “These research expeditions continue to increase our understanding of our operating environment and will help us to model, predict and design mitigation strategies and technologies to minimise the potential impacts that collecting nodules will have on the abyssal CCZ.
“It’s our mission to put forward a rigorous, peer-reviewed environmental impact statement to the International Seabed Authority and to set a high bar for this new industry.”
The 4E campaign is intended to retrieve, recalibrate and redeploy three mooring installations in the CCZ.
In a press statement, DeepGreen said: “The data collected from the instruments installed on the moorings provide insights as to the physical characteristics of the water column and inform a model developed to predict how deep-sea sediments disturbed by nodule collection operations will disperse and settle.”