Norway’s Loke Marine Minerals has purchased deep-sea mining firm UK Seabed Resources (UKSR) from US-based Lockheed Martin, for an undisclosed sum.

UKSR owns a 100% stake in two deep-sea mineral licences in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ) in the Pacific Ocean. These licences are issued by the International Seabed Authority (ISA).

The deep-sea mining firm also has a 19.9% interest in Ocean Mineral Singapore, a subsidiary of Singapore’s Keppel Corporation. Ocean Mineral holds a licence in the CCZ.

The CCZ is said to hold the world’s largest, undeveloped resource potential of nickel and cobalt in the seabed, typically at a 3,500-5,000m water depth.

Loke expects the transformative acquisition to allow it to become one of the largest licence holders in the CCZ.

Loke CEO Walter Sognnes said: “This acquisition accelerates Loke’s exploration plans, and ambition to deliver the safe production of nodules with as minimal an environmental impact as possible.

“Loke aims to make a Field Investment Decision in 2027 and start production in 2030. We are excited to have the UK as the sponsor state and see this as a natural continuation of the strong existing UK-Norway strategic cooperation in the offshore oil and gas industry.”

The sale by Lockheed Martin follows a detailed analysis of the business, which determined that ‘there was a better owner for our UK Seabed Resources business’, reported Reuters.

Norway is looking to explore the ocean floor for metals needed for countries to transition away from fossil fuels. It is also considering its extended continental shelf in the North Atlantic for mineral exploration.

Furthermore, Norway’s Kongsberg Gruppen has acquired a stake in Loke Marine Minerals. It will join TechnipFMC and Wilhelmsen.