Seafloor Mineral Resources and Prospects of Deep-Sea Mining
The Centre for Geobiology (CGB) held a PhD course addressing the geological, environmental and technological challenges facing deep-sea mining and mineral extraction.
Locally organised by Filipa Marques, Rolf Birger Pedersen and Steinar Hesthammer, the course is part of the Nordic Council of Ministers, NordMin project. A group of 22 students and stakeholders from eleven Nordic Universities came together at CGB from October 3rd to October 7th to discuss mining and mineral extraction from a sustainability perspective in a Nordic context. In addition to CGB staff, the course included lecturers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and the Geological Survey of Norway (NGU) in Trondheim, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD), the Iceland Geosurvey and National Energy Authority of Iceland.
The course addressed one of the ambitions of the NordMin project, namely:
"to build a network of excellence in the Nordic countries related to sustainable mining. In this respect, we would like to create platforms and areas where stakeholders meet to discuss mining and mineral extraction from a sustainability perspective. The Nordic context means that issues such as extreme conditions (from a technical perspective and in terms of climate), environmental impact and indigenous people’s rights should be addressed together with corporate social responsibility standards and the image of the extractive industry. One such platform will be PhD courses organized in different Nordic countries over the lifespan of the project"
The course utilized lectures and practical sessions to focus on three main aspects of deep-sea mining: 1) the current knowledge on seafloor hydrothermal systems, their diversity, characteristics, and resource quantification, 2) techniques for seafloor exploration and technology available for exploitation, and 3) environmental impacts and nation's regulation.
Nordic students were able to take advantage of the 20 scholarships available to participants focusing their research in exploration, mining, mineral processing, metallurgy, environmental aspects, social and societal aspects, and political and economic aspects.