The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) has found a new mineral resource deposit on the Mohn’s ridge located in the western part of the Norwegian Sea.

Identified during a three-week data acquisition expedition in the region, the new deposit is expected to yield industrial metals such as copper, zinc, cobalt, nickel and silver.

“Large volumes of photo and video material were acquired. A number of mineral samples were also collected.”

Currently, NPD is conducting data acquisition and mapping works on the overall offshore region after Ministry of Petroleum and Energy secured the administrative responsibility for the mineral deposits in the Norwegian continental shelf.

The latest expedition was carried out by Ocean Floor Geophysics-operated autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) Kongsberg Hugin.

Equipped with multiple sensors, the AUV mapped around 750km of the seabed.

Additionally, it procured other data such as the seabed in long corridors, totalling 750 km multibeam bathymetry; synthetic aperture sonar data and magnetometry.

NPD geologist Jan Stenløkk said: “Areas where these data indicated possible mineral deposits were examined using a remote operated vehicle, also known as an ROV, and large volumes of photo and video material were acquired. A number of mineral samples were also collected.”

When the sea water comes into contact with underlying magma chambers, the minerals contained within it are dissolved. These minerals precipitate to form gravel piles when the magma chambers shift and the water cools down.

The discovered area was found to contain such multiple piles of gravel and collapsed chimneys of iron sulphide. Under the expedition, several samples were taken that will now be analysed. All data procured during the mapping will also be evaluated for interpretation.

NPD exploration director Torgeir Stordal said: “It is gratifying that we have found a completely new deposit. We have also tested a number of measurement and mapping techniques that will be useful in future data acquisition expeditions.”