Deep Diving for Metals: Visualizing How Ocean Mining Works
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Deep Diving for Metals: Visualizing Ocean Mining

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The following content is sponsored by Prospector

 

Deep Diving for Metals - Visualizing Deep Sea Mining

Deep Diving for Metals: Visualizing Ocean Mining

The mining sector has been one of the biggest beneficiaries in the COVID-19 recovery.

Several countries’ recovery packages have ignited demand for commodities like copper, iron ore and lithium. Given that more metals are necessary for electrification and the clean energy transition, many companies are looking at an unexplored market: ocean mining.

Mining of the Deep Sea is still under study but metals are abundant on the seafloor. Reserves are estimated to be worth anywhere from $8 trillion to more than $16 trillion.

This infographic from Prospector provides a visual overview of the seabed mining process.

Down in the Depths

The most prolific area for ocean mining is the Clarion Clipperton Zone (CCZ) in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, between Hawaii and Mexico. Almost 20 international mining companies have contracts to explore the region which spans over 5,000 kilometers.

Most of the metals are found in potato-sized rock-like polymetallic nodules. Millions of years old, the nodules grow by absorbing metals from the seawater, expanding slowly around the core of shell, bone, or rock.

Mineral DepositsDepth Minerals
Polymetallic sulfide1,000 to 4,000mCopper, lead, zinc, silver, and gold
Polymetallic nodules3,000 to 6,500mNickel, cobalt, manganese, copper, ammonium sulfate
Cobalt crusts1,000 to 2,500m Cobalt, nickel, manganese, rare earth, iron, copper

Source: The Pew Charitable Trusts

It is estimated that there are 21 billion tonnes of polymetallic nodules resting on the ocean floor in the CCZ, containing an estimated:

  • 6 billion tonnes of manganese
  • 226 million tonnes of copper – about 25% of land-based reserves
  • 94,000 million tonnes of cobalt – about six times as much as current land-based reserves
  • 270 million tonnes of nickel – 100 times the annual global nickel production in 2019

Cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts are found on the sides of underwater mountain ranges and seamounts. Similar to nodules, these crusts form over millions of years as metal compounds in the water. Roughly 57% of them are located in the Pacific.

Polymetallic sulfide deposits formed after seawater seeps into volcanic rocks can be found along tectonic plate boundaries on the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, and the Atlantic Ocean.

How Does Ocean Mining Work?

Extraction of minerals from the seafloor is planned to involve either modified dredging (for nodules), cutting (for massive sulphides and crusts), and transport of the material as a slurry in a riser or basket system to a surface support vessel.

The mineral-bearing material is then processed in a ship (cleaning and dewatering – with the wastewater and sediment being returned to the ocean) and then transferred to a barge for transport to shore where it will be further processed to extract the target metals.

Towards a Greener Future

Growing demand for batteries to power electric cars and store wind and solar energy has driven up the cost of many metals and bolstered the business case for seabed mining.

According to a study published in the Journal of Cleaner Production, producing battery metals from nodules could reduce emissions of CO² by 70-75%,  cut land use by 94% and eliminate 100% of solid waste.

Here is a look at how ocean and land mining compares:

ProcessOcean Mining Land Mining
Prospecting time1-2 years2-8 years
Exploration costUSD $20 millionUSD $10 million
Development time4-6 years from discovery10+ years from discovery
Development costUSD $1 billionUp to billions of dollars a year
Mining and extractionLess than USD $1 billion yearly, 20-30+ yearsUp to billions of dollars a year, 50+ years
Closure and reclamationInvestigative ways to offset displacement of sea life and surfacesRestore the lands to the extent possible, revegetate, dry tailings ponds

Source: The Metals Company

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) has so far approved 28 exploration contracts in the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans, covering 1.3 million square kilometers of the ocean floor.

With many companies turning their eyes to the unexplored riches of the ocean, seabed mining could offer a wealth of untapped minerals on the ocean floor.

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Value in the Ground: Cartier Resources’ Chimo Mine Project

Cartier Resources (TSX-V: ECR) is advancing the Chimo Mine Gold Project in the Abitibi region of Quebec, showing its potential with past producing mines.

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Value in the Ground: Cartier Resources’ Chimo Mine Project

The sponsor of this graphic, Cartier Resources (TSX-V: ECR), has instigated an exploration strategy to increase ounces in the ground at the historic Chimo Mine in the heart of the Abitibi that continues to deliver increasing resources.

Cartier is deploying the strategy in the right region, with the right backers to find gold faster at a lower cost. This graphic provides an overview of the project’s massive potential.

Proven Endowment: The Abitibi Greenstone Belt

There are many prolific past-producing gold districts in Canada, but the Abitibi is one of the largest and well understood gold-bearing regions with readily available exploration infrastructure.

This region extends from Wawa in Northwestern Ontario to the East near Val-d’Or, Québec—a landscape that hosts some of the most productive gold mines in Canada.

Cartier’s Chimo Mine project located in the historic Abitibi Greenstone belt of Québec builds on a legacy of gold production with a project ready for investors.

Tried and Tested Exploration Strategy

The best place to find gold is where companies discovered and mined it before. Between 1964 and 1997, three companies produced 379,012 ounces of gold at the Chimo Mine.

This type of strategy is known as brownfield exploration. Brownfield exploration looks for gold in areas known to host gold mineralization. It offers investors less risk, reducing the amount of uncertainties a company faces.

Ounces in the Ground: Growing a Gold Resource

Cartier delivered its first-ever resource estimate within three years and proved the value at Chimo. In November 2019, the company published its first mineral resource estimate of the central gold corridor on the Chimo Mine property.

It reported Indicated resources of 481,280 ounces of gold and Inferred resources of 417,250 ounces of gold. This resource estimate came from only one-third of the property.

This was just the beginning for Cartier Resources and the Chimo Mine.

In 2021, Cartier upgraded its resource estimate with drilling from its North and South corridor. The company increased the indicated resources to 684,000 oz Au (6,616,000 tonnes at 3.21 g/t Au) and the inferred resources to 1,358,000 oz Au (15,240,000 tonnes at 2.77 g/t). This gives the property over 2 million ounces of gold in the heart of the Abitibi.

Why Invest in Chimo?

Cartier Resources has consistently applied an exploration strategy to develop and increase the known gold resources at the Chimo gold mine.

It built on the foundations of a proven past producer and continued exploration success to discover more gold. In the heart of a safe and established mining jurisdiction, Cartier has put the Chimo Mine back on the Abitibi gold map.

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Visualizing the Rise of Cryptocurrency Transactions

As cryptocurrency transactions rise, merchants are looking to position themselves to take advantage of this new wave of crypto spenders.

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daily crypto transactions

Visualizing the Rise of Cryptocurrency Transactions

After Bitcoin and cryptocurrency’s wild bull run in late 2020 and early 2021, many holders are now using cryptocurrencies for their intended purpose: payments.

Every day, approximately $12 billion are transferred across the Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin blockchains, with millions of people using cryptocurrency for payments daily.

This graphic sponsored by CoinPayments looks at the rising transactions of the Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin networks.

Cryptocurrency Transactions are Rising in Value and Number

While prices are often the focus when crypto is in the spotlight, transaction counts show how much a network is being used as a medium of exchange. In just over five years, daily transactions across the Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin networks increased sixfold, from just 250,000 to more than 1.5 million transactions a day.

In mid-2017, Ethereum overtook Bitcoin in daily transactions as ETH was necessary to participate in ICOs (initial coin offerings), which fueled much of the speculation in the 2017 price run. With Ethereum still hosting thousands of ERC-20 and ERC-721 tokens on its blockchain today, its transaction counts have grown to be much higher compared to Bitcoin and Litecoin’s.

Along with crypto’s rising transaction numbers, the average USD value per transaction has increased by a minimum of 4x over the past five years.

YearAverage Value per Bitcoin TransactionAverage Value per Ethereum TransactionAverage Value per Litecoin Transaction
2016$2,426$588$1,357
2021$32,943$19,139$5,458

Source: Coin Metric
2021 figures as of July 13th, 2021

Crypto Spenders are Searching for Merchants

As transaction counts and values rise, merchants play a vital part in pushing forward the adoption of digital currencies for payments.

Many cryptocurrency users consider merchant adoption as a key barometer of success for crypto adoption. While companies like AT&T, Namecheap, and Overstock already accept crypto payments, there are still many businesses around the world which don’t offer cryptocurrency as a method of payment.

In a survey of over 8,000 U.S. consumers, 66.7% of crypto owners and 54.2% of non-owners said that not enough merchants accept cryptocurrency. Along with this, 47% of crypto owners said they seek out merchants that accept crypto for purchases, indicating clear demand for more crypto-accepting businesses.

How Can Merchants Make the Most of the Crypto Boom?

As the world embraces crypto, merchants need the in-store and online tools to be part of this next wave of commerce. Accepting crypto opens merchants up to an untapped audience of new consumers, eager to spend their crypto.

CoinPayments makes it easy to start accepting crypto payments at online checkout and with POS systems, with features like auto-coin conversion and over 2,000 coins supported.

Find out more about how the crypto market is growing, adapting to consumer needs, and the opportunity it presents to merchants around the world.

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