WP3: Conceptual study of Methods for Extraction of Marine Minerals

According to original plan, WP3 would aim to deliver concepts for mining and exploitation of the sampled SMS deposits based on the assessment of the rock mechanical properties of the ore and wall rocks. The assessment of the rock mechanical properties proved difficult du to the state the sampled material was in. The sampled material was very porous non in-situ collapsed chimney material. With the equipment and personnel available within reasonable reach for MarMine, it was not possible to obtain representative data. The work completed in WP3 have therefore instead been based on literature studies. Phase one in any mining study is to establish an economic block model. This was therefore the focus of the first paper that was published in the journal Minerals, special issue “Deep-Sea Minerals and Gas Hydrates” in 2018. The availability of marine assets was shown to be the most important parameter that affects the economic value. In the recently submitted second paper, the mining system of Nautilus has been “tested” using a discrete-event modelling and simulation approach. Basically, it is concluded that the Nautilus setup will not work in Norwegian waters. In papers 3 and 4 a generic function structure for a deep-sea mining system (paper 3) and a conceptual design of a deep-sea mining system for Norwegian waters (paper 4) are developed. The candidate is planning to submit in Q1 2020 and defend in Q2 2020. Work on hyperbaric modelling and on testing the simulation approach developed in paper 2 on other mining systems have been abandon due to lack of validation data and due to time constraints.

The Loki’s Castle deposit situated in the northern part of Mohn’s Ridge as illustrated in the upper left subfigure. (a) 3D visualization of the topography showing two hydrothermal sulfide mounds hosting active chimneys (red arrows). The vertical plan indicates the direction of the crosscutting section in (b), where distinct ore and waste domains are represented. (Lesage et al 2018)