June 20, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Deep Reach Technology, Inc. awarded $0.9M US Department of Defense Project for Research of Ocean Recovery of Rare Earth Elements and other Strategic Minerals.
Keywords: Rare Earth Elements, Ocean Mining, Mineral Processing
Houston, TX (USA) – June 20, 2014
A team led by Deep Reach Technology, Inc. (DRT) has been awarded $0.9M in funding from the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL), part of the US Department of Defense (DOD), via a subaward agreement with Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
This cooperative research project, involving eight companies, will investigate the recovery of critical rare earth elements (REEs) and other strategic minerals from resources in the deep ocean, including polymetallic nodules, seafloor sediments, crusts and seafloor phosphorite deposits. The successful execution of this research could contribute substantially to establishing a secure supply chain for the heavy rare earth elements ultimately ensuring that these raw materials are available for critical DOD applications, green-energy technologies, and high tech consumer products.
REEs are vital ingredients in many high-tech components used in defense, industrial and green-energy applications. In recent years the REE sector has been dominated by China, which provides approximately 90% of global supply. The heavy REEs dysprosium and yttrium were recently mandated for inclusion in the DOD's National Defense Stockpile, despite not presently being produced in the USA, from US-based sources.
There are a multitude of terrestrial rare earth element deposits under development throughout the world. However, they all face commercialization challenges including complex metallurgy required to extract and process the desired elements from the host ore body and concern over environmental impacts. Several deep sea resources exist which offer the potential for greatly simplified metallurgical processing due to their simple mineralogy. Geochemical studies of various seafloor materials show that REEs are trapped during initial deposition of the material and that in some cases, the REEs continue to accumulate over time. The technology has already been demonstrated for recovering several valuable minerals from some deep sea resources, particularly nickel, copper, cobalt and manganese from nodules. The ARL research seeks to determine if the simplified mineralogy can provide for the economic recovery of the strategically important heavy rare earth elements and any other critical minerals. Other potential advantages of the seafloor resources include: high metal grades compared to many terrestrial deposits, their occurrence with many other valuable minerals and potentially reduced environmental impact.
The assembled team has been selected to capture the broad range and depth of experience needed to evaluate the complex ocean mining and recovery process for REEs. Several team members have participated in large scale ocean mining and other deepsea projects in the past, particularly for recovery of nodules and seafloor massive sulfides, and ocean renewable energy projects.
Partners in the research include Lyntek Incorporated, Lakewood, CO (USA) for mineral extraction and processing; La Mer Consulting LLC, Hamilton, VA (USA) for technical project management; David Felix (consulting geologist), San Diego, CA (USA) for resource characterization and assessment; UTEC Geomarine Ltd., Newcastle upon Tyne (UK) for seafloor sampling and geotechnical properties; Universal Strategies LLC, Reston, VA (USA) for environmental assessments, Ozean Engineering LLC, Seattle, WA (USA) for evaluation of mining equipment and Cellula Robotics, Ltd., Vancouver, BC, (Canada) for development of specific equipment for potential sampling and resource recovery on the seabed. Other geologists, ocean mining and processing experts will be consulted in the US and abroad as part of this effort. The current contract covers year one of a proposed multi-year research effort. The first phase will include a background investigation into the properties and REE content of the various types of deep deposits, and the state of mining and processing technologies applicable to each type. Following the initial background research one or two of the deep sea resources will be selected for further study. Environmental impact and the potential ultimate commercial attractiveness will be key considerations in selecting appropriate mineral deposits for study. The second phase of the research will include collecting and evaluating samples for laboratory tests to assess collection and processing options.
Deep Reach Technology, Inc. is a Joint Venture Company between John Halkyard & Associates LLC, Houston, TX (USA) and Cellula Robotics Ltd. (Cellula), Vancouver, BC (Canada). John Halkyard & Associates, LLC (JHA) is a leading consultant in deep water systems design and integration, especially marine and naval engineering, floating production, marine risers and offshore renewable energy. Dr. John Halkyard, owner of JHA, led the Kennecott Consortium’s manganese nodule mining development program in the 1970s. Cellula Robotics Ltd. is a leader in subsea vehicle and robotic equipment design and manufacturing. Eric Jackson, President of Cellula, was previously in charge of ocean mining system development for Placer Dome Minerals.
For additional information on Deep Reach Technology, Inc., please contact
John Halkyard, Sc. D.
Tel: +1 (281) 556-0893
For additional information on the REE Research project, please contact
Tel: +1 (540) 454-6956
January 6, 2016
DEEP SEABED MINING NEWS
The final report from the meeting “Toward Transparency and Best Practices for Deep Seabed Mining: An initial multistakeholder dialogue” held 7-9 October 2015 in Italy is now available here.
This meeting was hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation at its Bellagio Center in Bellagio, Italy, on the initiative of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Councils on Oceans and the Future of Mining and Metals. The conference was organized by a steering committee comprised of the International Seabed Authority, RESOLVE, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, and the University of California, San Diego. DOSI and INDEEP members attended.