Nordic Mining and partners has launched a research programme to assess the potential of extracting minerals from the seabed in Norwegian waters over the next five years.
Participants in the MarMine research programme also include Nordic Ocean Resources, along with 13 other industrial companies and research institutions.
The project is being backed by Nkr25m ($2.81m) in funding from the Norwegian Research Council and coordinated by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
As part of the project, the research partners will be responsible for obtaining geological, mineral, environmental and biological samples from selected areas of the Norwegian part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge by conducting an exploratory and sampling cruise.
The MarMine project will also assess the grade and recovery potential of seafloor massive sulphide (SMS) ore subjected to conventional processing, reveal limitations of existing technology due to the submarine aspect, as well as investigate the potential for alternative processing solutions, the company said.
Work under the programme includes sampling using a remotely operated underwater vehicle.
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The process mineralogical properties of SMS deposits will also be evaluated for use in the planning of mineral processing tests.
An ecological baseline study and eco-toxicological tests will be held to assess environmental impact of SMS mining to support guidelines and best available practices.
Nordic Mining CEO Ivar S Fossum said: "We expect that MarMine will bring significant and valuable information about the future potential of seabed minerals in Norwegian waters. It will further provide base knowledge on how to develop this as a new business segment on a global basis."