30. Suriname Deep Sea Mining
The Extended Continental Shelf of Suriname was approved by the UN UNCLOS Commission on 17 March 2011.
This means that this whole area could now be explored for lucrative deep sea mining. Underwater mining has been touted as the new frontier for the resources industry.
The following represents solely my own ideas and musings on this subject, as an independant explorationist and business developer of resources.
Deep sea mining is a relatively new mineral retrieval process that takes place on the ocean floor. Ocean mining sites are usually around large areas of polymetallic nodules or active and extinct hydrothermal vents at 1,400 to 3,700 metres below the ocean’s surface.The vents create globular or massive sulfide deposits, which contain valuable metals such as silver, gold, copper, manganese, cobalt, and zinc.
Among other kinds of mineral deposits found on the sea bed, the most extensive are potato- sized nodules containing high concentrations of phosphates or manganese oxide. Phosphate nodules are generally found on continental shelves, where they are formed by the chemical precipitation of phosphate at the sediment- water interface. Manganese nodules, on the other hand, usually occur at the bottom of deep oceans, particularly the central Pacific and Indian oceans. These nodules typically contain about 25% manganese, 15% iron, up to 2% each of nickel and copper as well as high concentrations of cobalt.
The Extended Continental Shelf area of Suriname does have the geological setting and potential for containing these metal-rich massive sulfude deposits. Both extinct as well as active deposits related with hydrothermal vents. This given the fact that this area consists of mainly oceanic crust. With a continual and steady development history of seafloor spreading and ocean crust formation that is still going on. With right lateral shearing and fracturing, along major strike slip zones (Guinea Fracture Zone), where the possible deposits could be located. Since Upper Cenomanian time, since 100 million years ago.
The northern limit of the Demerara Rise is defined by a major transcurrent fault. From here on the transition from continental to oceanic crust is very dramatic and evolves within a short distance. It is one of the few and really unique places on earth where this transition occurs in such a short distance.
Deep sea mining therefore does have as a clear potential in this oceanic crust domain. It is worthed to be considered and could contribute substantially to the diversify the economy and to increase the GDP of Suriname in the future. It represents a very valuable possible offshore “green and renewable asset ”. In line with the lineaments of the Paris Accord 2015, if properly executed….
In my humble explorationists vision it offers Suriname a unique opportunity that is relatively simple to perform.
To further explore, to harvest and eventually to reap monetary benefits from these natural riches. Up to now this opportunity has been overlooked by the country policy makers and influencers. As far as I know and/or have been able to research, such as on Internet.
Deep sea mining has been in my own mindset since I studied my second specialisation, ore geology. With renowned ore geologist prof. drs. Willem Uiyttenbogaard, at VU Amsterdam and Delft University, MIjnbouwkunde Faculteit in 1975.
Seafloor mining technology is becoming increasingly sophisticated. The latest generation of undersea machines used e.g. to mine diamonds consists of 250-tonne robotic leviathans, such as one manufactured by Marine and Mineral Projects, Cape Town.
The Pacific Island States presently are a role model in this respect. They are actively participating in a deep sea minerals project (SOPAC/SPC). And have already conducted sea floor mapping and sampling programs. Massive sulphide deposits have been discovered that contain localised concentrations of copper, lead, zinc and significant amounts of gold and silver. As well as manganese nodules with notable concentrations of nickel, cobalt. Sometimes together with high concentrations of rare-earth elements.
In 2011 Papua New Guinea became the first country to issue a mining license within its territorial waters.
Nautilus Minerals Inc., a Canadian company has been exploring a deposit since 2005. It projects to built the first submarine mega-mine in the Bismarck Sea. This Solwara project is located at 30 km offshore and targets a hugh deposit of polymetallic sulphur mineral nodules. It intends to recover mainly copper, base metal sulphides gold and silver, at a water depth of 1.600 metres.
Nautilus targeted production rate is approx 1.2-1.6 million tonnes a year. This is just a fraction of what all the sulphur deposits detected along the Clarion-Clipperton fracture zone could yield if mined. As a comparison, total production of onshore mines worldwide was 22.5 million metric tons in 2016. Chile took the top spot again by a long shot with one third.
ISA, issued in 2014 seven underwater mining licenses Three plans of work were approved for the exploration of polymetallic nodules for United Kingdom Seabed Resources, Ocean Mineral Singapore, and the Cook Islands Investment Corporation.
In the Golfo de Ulloa In Baja California. Odyssey Marine Explorations intends to drags 91,000 hectares. To extract 350 million tons of phosphate.
This is a road that Suriname could consider to follow.
Could the world’s hunger for metals and minerals, and strategies of the states for securing access to them, propel the development of deep sea mining?
Identifying the drivers of a sea minerals industry for Suriname requires within others a global perspective on the demand of metals. An understanding of the forces that influence the mining and minerals industry. And a more regional perspective on the need and opportunity in the surrounding area, particularly the USA, South America and Caribbean. The combined picture is complex, with high levels of uncertainty, due to the dynamic and often interrelated nature of the drivers.
Facts are that the need for copper, manganese and cobalt are rising, this stimulated by the electronic and automation sectors. At the same time the world reserves are diminishing. Large international mining conglomerates are therefore turning their attention to the offshore ocean bottom. ISA has already issued some 30 licenses in the Pacific.
Long-term decreasing metal industry productivity, falling ore grades, and increased costs, combined with increased environmental, social, and cultural expectations for sustainability, creates also for Suriname an opportunity for deep sea minerals as an alternate source of metal supply. Along with reuse and recycling.
The widespread and recognized need for alternative economic development, to overcome poverty and to meet the rising aspirations also applies to many countries in development,
Deepsea mining could very well represent the next gold rush.
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Doei, salu2, ciao, até logo, grüssen, cordialement, salut, добрый день, ajoo, tur kos bon mi dushi hendenan na Switi Sranan i mi famiri na switi Korsou, tan bun allamala !
I wish to dedicate this post to my dearest friend. My soulmate during our study in Lugdunum Batavorum.
Thanks so much for your sincere and dedicated friendship. Also for always appearing, out of the Blue, when I badly needed help.
Such as in Spain, near Burgos, just after the 6 weeks fieldwork in Cremenes, Cantabria. En route to the Costa Brava, Blanes? Our car accident that involved Jan Willem and myself. When a Spaniard fell asleep and crashed his Fiat 500 almost frontally against my brand new 2CV AK at 5.a.m., mind you.
Suddenly you appeared, like Batman, together with Herman.
Also for storing and shipping my 40 boxes with books to Curaçao, a task for which nobody wanted to volunteer. Only much later I discovered that you were the hidden benefactor.
Bergi, thank you so much and may the Mighty God Bless you !
…My special prayer… This precious song always reminds me of you. Take care, wherever you may now be !
Some day we will surely meet again. To follow our discussions then about deep sea mining such as in offshore Suriname. As we did back on our room on the first floor, Garenmarkt 1B, Geologisch Instituut, Leiden.
drs. Ray Bergval, 2017, R.I.P.
Percy Sledge, My special prayer.
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