Mining the Ocean Floor

June 19, 2015


Is it possible the future of mining rests on the ocean floor? Yes, according to a new study.


The study conducted by a company based in Washington State found that mining for materials such as copper might be more efficient if the mining takes place at the bottom of the ocean, rather than on land.


The study states there may be fewer environmental problems if miners search for those mineral on the ocean floor.


The study was requested by an Australian mining company that wants to harvest copper from the hot vents on the ocean floor. These vents spew sulfur and other minerals rising from the earth’s mantle. That’s the layer of earth right below the earth’s crust.


The company wanted to take a look at the environmental impact and the differences of their mining methods in comparison to the land-based mining operations currently in use around the world.


According to the report, demand for copper will remain high for the foreseeable future. This is driven by the fact that things such as electronics and medical technology require copper.


The right equipment is always crucial to a mining project. The project proposed by this Australian company would include a ship, currently being built, that would house an on-board refinery and a control center.