Cobalt, copper, nickel, zinc and manganese. At the bottom of the world’s oceans, there are large quantities of the minerals that form a central part of the green transition. Around the world, several initiatives have been launched to take advantage of the deposits.
In the lead is Norway, where the previous government put forward a proposal for exploration in an area between Greenland and Svalbard. The final decision on the matter has not yet been made, but even if the current government were to give the green light, much work remains before mining can become a reality.
– They are not completely in phase with the technology. It is very deep in these places, and the types of mineral deposits that exist are not entirely easy to simply lift up from the seabed and bring to land for processing, says Anna Apler, who is a geologist at Sweden’s Geological Survey (SGU).
Criticism from environmental organisations
The decision on exploration, which could be made as early as next year, is not entirely uncontroversial either. A large number of environmental organizations have turned against the plans as they consider the risks to be too great.
– What is often talked about is the lack of knowledge about the deep sea beds. With investigations in the deep sea, new species have been found all the time. What happens if you start digging and trawling up the bottom, do you then destroy the unique environments that are there? What happens to the world’s oceans then? You don’t really know that, says Anna Apler.