The worlds drive towards electrification and digitization requires an enormous increase in the primary stock of metals, minerals and rare earth elements (REE). Simultaneously, the onshore mining industry is mired in a self-reinforcing spiral of ever increasing environmental footprint to extract the marginal tonne of mineral, as ore grades decline, deforestation increases and waste per tonne ore mushrooms. On top of this comes the huge social costs in onshore mining and a geopolitical dilemma as the EU and USA lack dependable supplies of raw materials considered vital for national security. The question is: how can we mine the metals needed for the green transition in a sustainable manner and where should they come from?
70pc of our planet is covered by oceans. The seafloor contains vast amounts of the metals, minerals and REE needed for the green shift. Careful deep sea mining of these raw materials reduces the environmental footprint in mining with more than 90pc while at the same time solving the challenges related to social costs and the strategic need for EU and USA. In addition, ore grades that are 10-20x higher than those typically found in new mines onshore reduces waste, increases ore efficiency and reduces costs. With an estimated resource potential of NOK 700bn combined with the vast knowledge of deepwater operations acquired through decades of activity offshore and a high quality, stable regulatory framework, the NCS is emerging as a competitive area globally.