"Norway Greenlights World’s First Commercial Deep-Sea Mining Project"

"Here’s what the new project means for the US and other countries beyond the Nordic region".

"The US has investigated the potential for deep-sea mining since the 1950s, though not very consistently. Interest rose and fell across the decades—peaking in the 1970s when metal prices soared, decreasing as those prices fell. But today, as the world increasingly uses electronics, the demand for metals and minerals buried under the earth’s surface is reaching new depths.

Beneath this top layer lies a plethora of in-demand minerals like cobalt, nickel, and copper, with uses ranging from energy to defense—electric grid storage, consumer electronics, and jet engines. And with mineral supply chains largely controlled by China and Russia, deep-sea minerals are considered a national security matter for many countries, including the US. “We must explore every avenue to strengthen our rare-earth and critical minerals supply chains,” wrote 31 members of Congress in a recent letter to the Department of Defense that requests consideration of a US supply of seabed minerals. The question is how to get them.

While exploratory deep-sea mining has been going on for decades, no one has yet commercially mined the deep sea. But companies have conducted exploratory mining that permits equipment testing, environmental assessments, mapping resources, and creating mining plans for specific areas. Commercial permits, on the other hand, would let a company go much further by allowing it to harvest and sell seabed minerals."

Elyse Hauser reports for Sierra magazine December 16, 2023.

Source: Sierra, 12/18/2023