Thermal vent smoke-filtering
Deep sea mining is expected to grow 37% annually, from $650mn in 2020 to $15.3bn by 2030. Hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor are chimney-like structures where underwater volcanoes release magma and valuable minerals into the ocean above in the form of a “smoke,” offering an inexhaustible supply of metals, including minerals for batteries, important for the transformation to a green economy.[2,3]
Oil and gas extraction activities off the coast of Norway provide initial infrastructure and competencies that can be leveraged and transferred to the nearby underwater volcanic mountain range.
Environmental concerns about deep sea (strip) mining has led to a memorandum on seabed mining and the publication of a mining code of conduct by the International Seabed Authority.[5,6] Filtering techniques are expected to levy minimal environmental impact; more challenging is the separation of metal out of the smoke at the source 7km deep, and getting it to a surface platform.
When will filtering deep sea thermal vents for precious metals become an accepted practice?
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