DEME participates in new EU consortium for deepsea harvesting of polymetallic nodules
ZWIJNDRECHT | The Belgian dredging, environmental and marine engineering group DEME is participating in a consortium of 14 leading European industry and research organisations, which will carry out the European BLUE NODULES project that has been launched today.
This new four-year project is part of the ‘Horizon 2020’ programme, which is helping to accelerate innovations that ensure secure and sustainable deepsea harvesting and processing of polymetallic nodules.
Polymetallic Nodules occur on the seabed in most oceans around the world and contain large quantities of critical raw materials, such as nickel, copper, cobalt and manganese, as well as gallium and rare earth elements. They are vital for Europe’s innovative technologies, for manufacturing crucial alloys, and for new and innovative products like batteries for electric cars, photovoltaic systems and devices for wind turbines. The EU recognises the strategic importance of a sustainable supply of these raw materials.
The extreme conditions found on the ocean floor raise specific technical and environmental challenges, which are demanding and entirely different from land-based mining. To meet those challenges, the EU BLUE NODULES project will develop the seafloor and surface processes and equipment for sustainable deepsea harvesting of the nodules.
DEME is one of the leading industrial partners in providing breakthrough solutions for a sustainable, deepsea harvesting value chain. On the 14th of January 2013, the International Seabed Authority signed a 15-year contract with DEME’s subsidiary Global Sea Mineral Resources (GSR) for the prospecting and exploration of polymetallic nodules. Under the contract, GSR has exclusive rights for exploration over 76,728 square kilometres of seabed in the eastern part of the Central Pacific Ocean.
BLUE NODULES is the third successful EU initiative in which DEME participates, in addition to the MIDAS and BLUE MINING projects (‘Managing Impacts of Deep Sea Resource Exploitation’ and ‘Developing Discovery and ‘Assessment Technology for Deep Sea Resources & Developing the Vertical Transport System’.
Next to DEME’s subsidiaries Dredging International and GSR, the consortium consists of industrial partners and research centres from the Netherlands, the UK, Germany, France, Norway, Denmark and Spain.