The world’s population is still growing and the share of the global population living in urban areas has risen rapidly over the last decades. This results in an increasing demand for commodities. In addition, raw materials are crucial for the energy transition and digital transformation. With these factors in mind, it is inevitable that our search for raw materials also leads us to deep-sea environments. At the bottom of our oceans, kilometres below the sea surface, large amounts of metal-rich deposits are found.
Mining these resources requires excavation of the deposit at the seafloor, the transport of the deposit from the seafloor to the sea surface and the processing of the material. It is obviously key that all of this is done while minimising the environmental impact.
To support this process, we have invested in the development of technology for underwater mining. We have been involved in and contributed to the development of sustainable solutions. Solutions that have minimal impact on the deep sea ecosystems they work in.
Our underwater mining capabilities are based on our long history and extensive track record in the dredging, offshore, maritime, and marine mining industries.
As deposits get deeper, we are your ideal partner for supplying remote subsea crawler mining systems. IHC Mining is leading the development of an ultra-deep mining and vertical transportation system for underwater and deep-sea projects, operating in water depths of up to 5,000m.
We are a knowledge partner in the Blue Harvesting project – a 3 year deep sea mining program, funded by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, EIT Raw Materials (European Union). In this program we helped design, build and test a hydraulic nodule collector, enabling deep sea mining while minimising its environmental impact.
Furthermore, with leading roles in the EU-subsidised Blue Mining and Blue Nodules projects, we have worked with partners in the industry and sciences to study the subject from different angles, combining theory and practical experience.
Blue Mining addresses the deep-sea mining value chain, including resource discovery and assessment, exploitation technologies, and legal and regulatory framework. Exploitation technology development focuses on the vertical transport system and ship-to-ship transfer of ore.
The objective of Blue Nodules is to develop a sustainable deep-sea mining system for harvesting polymetallic nodules from the sea floor with minimum environmental impact. Technology development is focused on the subsea vehicle and collector. http://www.blue-nodules.eu/
Blue Mining and Blue Nodules are EU-funded research and innovation projects.
Read more on the topic of deep sea mining in our innovation blog.
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