DeepGreen's research programme will focus on the Clarion Clipperton Zone (CCZ) in the Pacific ocean, with studies exploring the zone's pelagic and benthic biology, bathymetry and ecosystem. These will be used in the firm's environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) for its proposed CCZ polymetallic nodule collection project.
Experts from institutions including the UK National Oceanography Centre, London's Natural History Museum, the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology and Texas A&M will take part in an independent capacity.
"This is a collaboration of the best minds in ocean science coming together to answer many important questions about deep-sea ecosystem function and connectivity throughout the water column," said DeepGreen chief ocean scientist, Dr Greg Stone.
"The programme will enable DeepGreen to put forward a rigorous, peer-reviewed environmental impact statement to the International Seabed Authority, setting a high bar for this new industry."
All output and data generated by the intensive research program will be shared with the international community, noted DeepGreen's statement.
Plans to mine the seabed for minerals have faced concerns such as the potential impact of sediment plumes on deep-ocean fauna throughout the water column, and at varying spatial and temporal scales.
"We are pleased to take part in this important, wide-reaching and collaborative effort to study the impacts of collecting polymetallic nodules," said Dr Daniel Jones from the UK National Oceanography Centre, whose team will investigate the seabed megafauna of the region.
The biological survey of the exploration area of DeepGreen's subsidiary Nauru Ocean Resources Inc. (NORI) is planned to meet or exceed international regulatory requirements under the International Seabed Authority (ISA), established by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
DeepGreen will use the insights to inform engineering decisions to develop technologies further to collect and lift polymetallic nodules with "as little impact as possible to the ocean," noted the company.
The company added 74,713km2 to its holdings in April through its takeover of Tonga Offshore Mining (TOML).