Impact monitoring vessel
- Following 16 offshore campaigns by NORI to define the nodule resource and establish an environmental baseline in exploration area NORI-D in the Clarion Clipperton Zone (CCZ), NORI’s environmental program enters a new phase— monitoring the environmental impacts of an integrated collector system test consisting of a pilot collector on the seafloor, the production vessel Hidden Gem on the surface, a riser system connecting collector to the vessel and key components of the Company’s Adaptive Management System.
- The impact monitoring phase is conducted from a separate vessel by a multidisciplinary team consisting of independent scientists from leading international research institutions and world-leading contractors.
- Conducted in a small test area in NORI-D, the collection system trials and environmental impact monitoring are part of the International Seabed Authority’s regulatory and permitting process and will provide critical environmental impact data to inform NORI’s application to the ISA for an exploitation contract.
- Almost 150 years after the HMS Challenger expedition first discovered polymetallic nodules on the seafloor in the Pacific, NORI’s integrated system trials mark the first such trials to be conducted in the CCZ since the 1970s.
NEW YORK, Oct. 05, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Metals Company (Nasdaq: TMC) (the “Company” or “TMC”), an explorer of lower-impact battery metals from seafloor polymetallic nodules, today announced that a multidisciplinary team of independent scientists from leading research institutions around the world and industry-leading contractors has commenced the next phase of an extensive environmental baseline and impact monitoring campaign in preparation for the Company’s subsidiary NORI’s ongoing pilot nodule collection system trials in the NORI-D area of the CCZ.
Aboard a dedicated 103-meter-long monitoring vessel, scientists recently conducted pre-disturbance monitoring studies on a sub-section of the NORI-D exploration area to establish an environmental baseline before NORI’s offshore strategic partner, Allseas, tests a system consisting of a prototype nodule collector at the seafloor connected to a riser system to bring nodules to the surface production vessel, Hidden Gem.
Nodules in a boxcore
Researchers use a range of high-tech equipment including bespoke tools developed by MIT, Scripps and Sequoia Scientific to characterise the behaviour of sediment plumes generated by the prototype collector on the seafloor; three dedicated moorings, current meters with acoustic modems to provide real-time seafloor current data and a large array of other specialized equipment which together represents the most extensive suite of instruments ever deployed for a single program in the deep ocean. The current campaign requires the coordination of 250 people across three vessels and also marks the initial trials of components of TMC’s Adaptive Management System — being developed in partnership with Kongsberg Digital — which is expected to enable near-real-time 3D visualization in the deep sea and the simulation and analysis of the impacts of NORI’s proposed operations at depths of 4kms.
Sediment samples on deck
The Company’s Environmental Program Manager, Dr Michael Clarke, said: “Testing of a fully integrated nodule collection system is a landmark event in the progression of our nascent industry. The environmental data we collect from the test will be key to defining and quantifying the key environmental impacts of our nodule collection process, which up to this point have been subject to speculation and conjecture.”
Having established a baseline of the NORI-D collector test area, scientists will proceed to monitor the environmental impacts of deployment and testing of the fully integrated nodule collection system. They will also undertake post-collection surveys to compare the status of the environment before and after the test. The data collected, together with many terabytes of existing baseline data collected by NORI throughout 16 offshore campaigns, will form the basis of NORI’s application to the International Seabed Authority for an exploitation contract, which the Company expects to submit in the second half of 2023.
Last month NORI announced that it received the ISA’s recommendation to commence its pilot nodule collection system trials in the CCZ after its review of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Environmental Monitoring and Management Plan (EMMP). Trials of prototype nodule collectors have been successfully conducted by several ISA contractors including BGR and GSR in the recent years. NORI’s tests will mark the first time an integrated nodule collection system — including nodule riser — has been trialled in the Clarion Clipperton Zone since the 1970s, when oil, gas, mining and industrial majors including Shell, BP, Rio Tinto (Kennecott), US Steel, INCO (Vale) and Sumitomo successfully conducted pilot test work, collecting over 1,500 tons of nodules.
About The Metals Company
The Metals Company is an explorer of lower-impact battery metals from seafloor polymetallic nodules, on a dual mission: (1) supply metals for the clean energy transition with the least possible negative environmental and social impact and (2) accelerate the transition to a circular metal economy. The Company through its subsidiaries holds exploration and commercial rights to three polymetallic nodule contract areas in the Clarion Clipperton Zone of the Pacific Ocean regulated by the International Seabed Authority and sponsored by the governments of Nauru, Kiribati and the Kingdom of Tonga.
Forward Looking Statements
Certain statements made in this press release are not historical facts but are forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions under The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements generally are accompanied by words such as “believe,” “may,” “will,” “estimate,” “continue,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “expect,” “should,” “would,” “plan,” “predict,” “potential,” “seem,” “seek,” “future,” “outlook” and similar expressions that predict or indicate future events or trends or that are not statements of historical matters. The forward-looking statements contained in this press release include, without limitation, statements regarding the review and approval of our Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and other required approvals by the International Seabed Authority, the development and use of an ecosystem-based management and monitoring plan (EMMP) as well as the design, use and accuracy of any technology developed by TMC and its partners, agents and/or service providers to support its operations. These forward-looking statements involve significant risks and uncertainties that could cause the actual results to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements. Most of these factors are outside TMC’s control and are difficult to predict. Factors that may cause such differences include, but are not limited to: regulatory uncertainties and the impact of government regulation and political instability on TMC’s resource activities; changes to any of the laws, rules, regulations or policies to which TMC is subject; the impact of extensive and costly environmental requirements on TMC’s operations; environmental liabilities; the impact of polymetallic nodule collection on biodiversity in the Clarion Clipperton Zone and recovery rates of impacted ecosystems; TMC’s ability to develop minerals in sufficient grade or quantities to justify commercial operations; the lack of development of seafloor polymetallic nodule deposit; uncertainty in the estimates for mineral resource calculations from certain contract areas and for the grade and quality of polymetallic nodule deposits; risks associated with natural hazards; uncertainty with respect to the specialized treatment and processing of polymetallic nodules that TMC may recover; risks associated with collection, development and processing polymetallic nodules; risks associated with TMC’s limited operating history; the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; risks associated with TMC’s intellectual property and the validity, use and ownership of any new technology or intellectual property subsisting therein; and other risks and uncertainties indicated from time to time in the Company’s Form 10K, dated and filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on March 25, 2022 as well as the Company’s Form 10Q filed with the SEC on August 15, 2022, including those under “Risk Factors” therein, and in TMC’s other future filings with the SEC. TMC cautions that the foregoing list of factors is not exclusive. TMC cautions readers not to place undue reliance upon any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date made. TMC does not undertake or accept any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements to reflect any change in its expectations or any change in events, conditions, or circumstances on which any such statement is based except as required by law.
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