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Centre for Geobiology

PhD Course

Third NordMin PhD Course

The 3rd NordMin PhD course was hosted by the Center for Geobiology (CGB) at the University of Bergen (UiB), Norway and focused on Seafloor Mineral Resources and Prospects of Deep Sea Mining, concentrating within a Nordic context.

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PhD course
Photo:
Adam Schaen

A group of nineteen PhD students, two MSc students, and two Professors (from eleven Nordic universities), came together at the CGB from October 3rd to October 7th, 2016 to participate in part of the NordMin project made possible by the Nordic Council of Ministers for the 2013-2016 period. 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, 3) environmental impacts and nations regulation. Fantastically, 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. 

The first three days (and last day) of the course operated with lectures and practicals within topics of seafloor hydrothermal systems, the characterization of deep-sea mineral resources, exploration and technology, and environment and offshore regulation. On the fourth day of the course a boat field trip was taken to a volcanic massive sulfide deposit (VMS) in the mining village of Litlabø located in the municipality of Stord (see photo outside mining museum). Here the Litlabø mine (ophiolite complex), which operated from 1865 to 1968, recovered transition metal sulfides (predominantly pyrite) in order to produce sulfuric acid which was then used in the production of gunpowder and other industrial purposes. The students were taken into the mine by the workers at the Litlabø Mining Museum (https://www.visitnorway.com/listings/the-mining-museum-litlab%C3%B8/2123/) for a guided geologic and historical tour (see mine photo). Following the tour in the mine, the field trip continued via RIB boats to the island of Bømlo and further to the north up towards the Island of Bekkjarvik. The purpose was to study the geological sequence here going from island arc type rocks towards mantle dunites and Harzburgites outside of Bekkjavik. These outcrops are some of the most preserved in Norway and thus provides a unique insight into the closing of the Lapetus Ocean and the forming of the Caledonides.