PUSH Norway AND the first country in the world to permit mining minerals from the seabed. On January 9, it was approved by the Storting, or parliament, in Oslo a law that legalizes this practiceso far considered internationally controversial to say the least due to the impact it could have on the environment. If it is true that there are raw materials such as lithium, scandium and cobaltincreasingly demanded by the global industry because necessary for the energy transitionon the other side of the coin are concerns regarding possible destruction of most of the seabed on which mining will be carried out. Also for this reason, despite the first attempts in this direction from the 1960s, no country has ever reached the goal that the Scandinavian one has achieved.
In detail, the law currently stipulates that the collection of minerals can take place only in Norwegian waters, but national institutions are already moving towards obtaining permission to expand it internationally. However, the law does not provide for a true “free-for-all”: interested companies will be asked to send a request to obtain the relevant license, which also indicates a number of environmental assessments. At this point, the Storting will decide on a case-by-case basis which ones to approve and which ones not to.
As he points out Post, there are mainly two types of seabed in which the metals required by the technological sector are found. On the one hand, they exist hydrothermal springs, i.e., fractures in the earth from which water of a temperature reaching 400 degrees, i.e. two hundred times higher than the 2 normally found in the depths of the ocean, flows. On the other hand, they exist deep plains rich in metal nodules. These are partially or completely buried spherical mounds of minerals with a diameter of several centimeters, which mainly contain copper, manganese, zinc and cobalt.
Technically, the extraction is happening in several stages. The first consists in the survey of the seabed, which is carried out with using remotely controlled underwater vehicles similar to those sent into space. They travel along long stretches of seabed evaluate the actual presence of minerals in areas identified as potentially rich in raw materials from which they collect Samples. Subsequently, after identifying the mining site, we continue installation of a floating station or ship to be used as a base of operations. From there through similar structures excavatorswe move on to the actual dredging of the seabed and the collection of sediments that are separated from the metals on the surface and then be released back into the water.
This entire procedure will change to great stress on the environment. In fact, the release of sediments, which reach quantifiable daily amounts, contributes to the destruction of the seabed. between 50 thousand and 150 thousand cubic meters. Occurs thousands of meters above the surface than the seabed, so sediments pass through several ecosystems and are carried by the current even miles away from the place where mining takes place.
Waste materials will also change chemical composition of waterwhile the noise of the excavators will disturb the marine fauna. On January 9, Norway may have truly made history. at what price, time will show.