The first step in the pair's ultimate goal is a feasibility study, for which the funding obtained from an investment round led by Macquarie Capital and Fearnley Securities will be used. Allseas will be a lead strategic investor and DeepGreen will contribute its resources and cash investment for the development of a polymetallic nodule harvester and riser system.
The system will be used as their explore for high-grade metals to gather nodules from the seafloor of the Clarion Clipperton Zone (CCZ) in the Pacific Ocean, and transport them up to a surface vessel some 4-6.5km above. This varies from the methods of some other more recent explorers, which are planning to drill and dig.
DeepGreen said it expects the alliance to propel it to a top position in the acquisition of base and strategic metals obtained from vast high-grade seafloor polymetallic nodule deposits containing nickel, manganese, copper and cobalt.
"Our partnership with Allseas will ultimately help us open up a new, disruptive source of battery metals for the green revolution and transform the mining industry as we know it," DeepGreen chairman and CEO Gerard Barron said. "It was important to us to find a partner who can bring not just strong offshore engineering expertise but also a strong 24-7 production mindset in the deep-sea environment.
"Extracting battery metals like nickel and cobalt from terrestrial mines is facing many challenges, and the environmental, CO2 and social costs are simply too high. Seafloor polymetallic nodules contain more than enough base metals that the world needs to get to a clean energy economy, and they require no blasting, drilling or digging. Indeed, our life cycle sustainability analysis shows that, with regards to NMC batteries with copper connectors for electric vehicles, ocean nodules generate at least 75% less CO2 when compared to producing these metals from land ores."
Allseas founder and president Edward Heerema concurred, noting that his group is excited to take its 30 years of innovation from the offshore oil and gas industry to this new project.
"We are…excited to find a new industry to leverage our experience, expertise and maybe some of our operational assets," he said.