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Fugro’s Ultra Deep-Water Surveys Support Seabed Mining

FugroFugro is commencing its first project supporting deep-sea polymetallic nodule mining under a contract awarded by seafloor mineral exploration company Nauru Ocean Resources Inc. (NORI), a subsidiary of DeepGreen Metals.

In the deep waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean, its specialist marine geoscience team will perform detailed site characterisation surveys. The project, which began on 19 April, will advance NORI’s polymetallic nodule project. Polymetallic nodules are potato-sized concretions enriched in nickel, copper, and cobalt. These nodules also contain metals and non-metals important to ‘green-tech’ enterprises, such as electric vehicles and wind energy production.

The site characterisation surveys will involve acquisition of high-resolution imagery and geophysical data, and sampling of minerals from the seafloor. Fugro will also measure geotechnical properties, catalogue the mineral resource, and help NORI to determine optimal mining areas. The data acquisition and sampling will take place in water depths of up to 4,500m over a 400km2 area between the Clarion and Clipperton fracture zones. The field work will be accomplished using the company’s Echo Surveyor VII autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) and specialised seafloor sampling equipment.

“Fugro’s sector leading technology, technical capabilities, and track record of success make it the perfect partner to assist DeepGreen and NORI to begin producing metals for our future,” says Mr Gerard Barron, CEO of DeepGreen Metals. Mr Dan McConnell, Fugro’s Global Product Manager for Gas Hydrates and Marine Minerals, adds, “Fugro has much to offer in terms of specialised ultra-deep-water survey, resource assessment, and oceanographic and environmental studies. We look forward to working with NORI and DeepGreen Metals and demonstrating value through this, our first ever project in supporting deep-sea polymetallic nodule mining.”