Black smoker chimneys at the Fåvne hydrothermal vent field, Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge (Photo © Trond Mohn Centre for Deep-Sea Research/University of Bergen)
The University of Bergen, in collaboration with various organisations, will coordinate the Eco-Safe Ridge Mining Project. This project will fill key knowledge gaps, evaluate risks, and identify appropriate mitigation actions regarding deep-sea mining.
This three-year project will study the Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge, where “seafloor sulphide deposits containing strategic metals co-occur with vulnerable habitats such as hydrothermal vents and sponge grounds”. A better understanding of deep-sea ecosystems associated with seabed mineral deposits will be crucial for future deep-sea mining endeavours.
According to Jon Oddvar Hellevang, R&D Manager for GCE Ocean Technology, there is a need to “increase the knowledge about the deep-sea environment”. He wrote this in his article for the Bergen-based newspaper, Bergens Tidende.
“I’m convinced that a joint effort between the public, private and research groups is the best and fastest way to accelerate the acquisition of knowledge,” wrote Hellevang. “In my experience, everyone wants to take responsibility and contribute to a sustainable energy transition”.
Along with the University of Bergen and GCE Ocean Technology, the project participants include NORCE, the University of Stavanger, the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), Equinor, the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association, Loke Marine Minerals, Adepth Minerals and Aanderaa Data Instruments.
The project will operate on a total budget of approximately 18 million NOK, with more than 13 million granted by the Research Council of Norway.