“Seventy percent of the earth’s surface is covered by sea and oceans, yet we seem to know less about our ocean space than outer space. Blue Nodules is set to change that with 14 European companies and institutions searching for answers to what minerals lie beneath, how environmental sustainability can be maintained, the economics of deep sea mining and the technology to be developed. The world needs mining so let’s act responsibly as explorers, scientists and engineers in this the last frontier for the expansion of mining on earth.”
'Laurens de Jonge - Manager Marine Mining Consultancy, IHC'
IHC Mining’s parent company Royal IHC is the global market leader for efficient dredging and mining vessels and equipment – with vast experience accumulated over decades – and a reliable supplier of custom-built ships and supplies for offshore construction. Royal IHC has in-house expertise for engineering and manufacturing, as well as providing life-cycle support. The company’s broad customer base includes dredging operators, oil and gas corporations, offshore contractors and government authorities. Technological innovation is the company’s underlying strength through its continuous investment in research and development.
IHC Mining is Royal IHC’s division that provides integrated solutions for the onshore, nearshore and deep-sea mining market. It offers advisory services and in-depth studies to determine the overall technical and economic viability of the project. It designs, builds and supplies innovative mining vessels and advanced equipment ranging from mining dredgers and crawlers, slurry transport systems and mineral separation plants to plant automation and control systems. The experienced IHC Mining team consists of geologists, engineers (mechanical, mining, geotechnical, processing and environmental), technicians and other specialists. Each of its locations in South Africa, Australia and The Netherlands is a centre of excellence, employing experts from all around the world. With the establishment of a dedicated mining division, Royal IHC has demonstrated a long-term commitment to the international mining industry. During operation, IHC Mining provides life cycle support, resulting in optimal use of equipment at minimum costs. With an extensive track record, the company has achieved supplying customers with a greater return on investment, while helping to decrease the environmental impact of the customer’s activities.
Country: The Netherlands
"Ocean noise has always existed, both in natural and biological forms. Without any doubt, due to its recent and uncontrolled character, the massive introduction of artificial sound sources at a large scale has become a threat to its balance, more importantly than any other pollution found in the marine environment. The development of sustainable activities in the marine environment concerns everyone. Together we can implement solutions from science and applied research in order to bring back the important acoustic balance to the sea, a natural environment for sounds and silences."
'Michel André - Director of the Laboratory of Applied Bioacoustics (LAB, UPC)'
The Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya [BarcelonaTech (UPC)] is a public institution with a vocation to serve society. It offers broad higher education in a wide range of technical, artistic and humanistic fields. The UPC has adopted a management model based on the transparency of objectives and results, across all its constituent units. Its overall aim is to foster the improvement of educational, research and management activities, and offer greater transparency and accountability to society.
The Laboratory of Applied Bioacoustics (LAB) of the UPC holds expertise in: Signal Modelling and Analysis; 3D Numerical simulations; Acoustic Propagation Model & Acoustic Target Model; Biosonar and Communication Mechanisms; Control of Marine Noise Pollution; Measurement and monitoring of anthropogenic sound sources; Development of passive techniques to explore the ocean Assessment of noise pollution effects on marine organisms; Automatic identification and classification of biological and anthropogenic sound sources; Tracking of marine mammals with passive techniques and Ambient Noise Imaging; Ethical and Legal Aspects of Marine Mammal Research; Cross-disciplinary approach to help creating policies towards underwater anthropogenic noise control.
“Deep sea mining of rare earth minerals is still an emerging industry and both technologically and environmentally challenging. Blue Nodules provides the opportunity to advance our knowledge about environmental impacts of polymetallic nodule mining in the deep sea and to develop technological and scientific solutions to mitigate such impacts and to maintain environmental sustainability in practice.”
'Christian Mohn, Senior Scientist, AU'
Aarhus University (AU) is an academically diverse teaching and research-oriented institution. AU is currently ranked among the world’s top 30 universities in the field of environment and ecology, (U.S. News Best Global Universities – ranking). AU provides public and private sector consultancy services as an integrated part of the Danish Centre of Environment and Energy (DCE). Research activities of the Department of Bioscience (AU-BIOS) cover both fundamental and applied research in various fields of biology, ecology and oceanography supported by excellent research facilities and laboratories. AU-BIOS also has a strong commitment to undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, currently hosting more than 100 PhD students and 30 Postdocs.
“Blue Nodule is an exciting project that has the potential to bring society closer to utilize the vast deep marine mineral resources. NTNU is an active part of Blue Nodules because this project is in line with NTNU´s strategic research areas and is complementary to NTNU´s research within the field.”
'Associate Professor Kurt Aasly, NTNU'
At the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), we create knowledge for a better world and solutions that can change everyday life. From 2016, NTNU, the University College in Gjøvik, the University College in Sør-Trøndelag and the University College in Ålesund are merged to become one university. This gives us a more comprehensive range of study programs and larger research communities. Together, we are Norway’s largest, most exciting and most innovative university.
NTNU is Norway’s primary institution for educating MSc-level engineers and scientists, and also offers comprehensive programs in social sciences, teacher education, the arts and humanities, medicine, architecture and fine art. NTNU offer cross-disciplinary research and deliver creative innovations with far-reaching social and economic impact.
NTNU’s vision: Knowledge for a better world
One of four strategic research areas at NTNU is NTNU OCEANS – knowledge for a sustainable ocean where one of the main pillars is ”Marine Minerals and Renewables”, focusing on aspect related to marine minerals and their exploitation and sea based renewable energy.
RWTH Aachen University performs since many years as the top ranked technical University of Excellence in Germany. Joint research with industry and large collaborative research centres are a particular strength of RWTH Aachen University.
The Unit of Mineral Processing (AMR) is a world known institution educating and researching in the field of mineral processing. This includes analysis, characterization, comminution, screening, sorting and de-watering of industrial minerals, coal, ores and other non-metallic minerals. Due to cooperation with national and international companies the education and research activities are on the highest level. The research activities are dealing with fundamental as well as application orientated research.
The Institute for Mining and Metallurgical Machinery (IMR) is part of the Division of Mining Engineering, Mineral Processing and Recycling at the RWTH Aachen University. The research activities of IMR are subdivided into four areas of application; Sensor Technology and Automation, Diagnostics and Maintenance, Rock cutting as well as Simulation and Engineering Tools. The goal of the IMR is to offer fundamental research, as well as industry oriented research and practice oriented services
"The mining of deep-sea mineral deposits will have an unprecedented impact on an environment that has until now remained almost untouched by mankind. How deep-sea ecosystems will be affected on the short and on the long term is the subject of intensive research by oceanographers, geoscientists and biologists. Blue Nodules brings marine scientists and engineers together in a joint effort to implement current ideas about impact reduction and mitigation into the design of deep-sea mining technology. We hope that our approach will set a standard for industry worldwide."
'Marck Smit, Business Developer, NIOZ'
NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, with laboratories on the isle of Texel and in Yerseke, is the national oceanographic institute and principally performs academically excellent multidisciplinary fundamental and frontier-applied marine research, addressing important scientific and societal questions pertinent to the functioning of estuarine and delta areas, coastal seas and open oceans. The institute employs around 300 permanent and temporary staff. NIOZ is an institute of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), in cooperation with Utrecht University.
Education and policy development support – NIOZ stimulates and supports education and marine policy development in a national and international context.
Research facilities – NIOZ serves as national marine research facilitator (NMF) for the Dutch scientific community. The institute operates the ocean-going RV Pelagia as well as smaller vessels for coastal research, and manages laboratories and a large pool of marine research equipment, often designed and built by the institute’s own technical department. NIOZ’ mechanical and electronic engineering department supports scientific missions, but more importantly is dedicated to the development of new equipment and the improvement and maintenance of existing equipment. Projects carried out at NIOZ include development of stationary bottom landers (e.g. ALBEX, BoBo), crawlers (MOVE) and innovative mooring designs, like the thermistor string mooring and the current KM3Net moorings (neutrino telescope in the deep-sea). NIOZ has a track record of successful long-term lander and mooring operations in Atlantic and Indian Ocean, down to depths of 6000 m. Furthermore, a HD camera system (including normal and infrared light) has been developed in the last few years that can be used as tethered system as well as on autonomous landers or crawlers. Test facilities like a hyperbaric pressure tank and a test basin are available at the institute.
Country: The Netherlands
Bureau Veritas is a world-leading provider in testing, inspection and certification. Created in 1828, the Group has more than 66,500 employees in around 1,400 offices and laboratories located all across the world. Bureau Veritas helps its clients to improve their performance by offering services and innovative solutions in order to ensure that their assets, products, infrastructure and processes meet standards and regulations in terms of quality, health and safety, environmental protection and social responsibility.
'Decreasing the world’s dependence on fossil fuel, increases our dependence on minerals. GSR, in collaboration with all stakeholders, is looking for ways how seabed minerals can contribute to the sustainable development of our world. Through this project – Blue Nodules – we will again make important steps forward realizing our goal.'
Global Sea Mineral Resources NV (GSR) is a subsidiary of the DEME Group focused on the development of sustainable ocean mineral resources. On 14th of January 2013, the International Seabed Authority and GSR signed a 15-year contract for prospecting and exploration for polymetallic nodules. Under the contract, GSR will have exclusive rights for exploration for polymetallic nodules over 76,728 square kilometers of the seabed in the eastern part of the Clarion Clipperton Zone (CCZ) of the Central Pacific Ocean.
Seascape Consultants was established in 2010 to provide solutions and high-level advice to the rapidly developing offshore sector including industry, policymakers and regulatory bodies. Expertise includes strategic environmental assessment, stakeholder consultation and engagement, ocean governance and regulatory control. Seascape coordinates the FP7-funded MIDAS project, which is investigating the environmental impacts of resource extraction in the deep sea, in particularly the mining of mineral resources such as polymetallic nodules, massive sulphide deposits and ferromanganese crusts. The company’s Directors have a strong background in management of research, execution of complex research projects, and in the translation of marine scientific data to policy applications and technology development.
Country: United Kingdom
"The search for rare earth elements, whilst taking into account the environment, bring together the need continue to grow technology and the method to do this in a responsible way. DE REGT are “technology partners” and fundamental to this ethos is their commitment to share lessons learned and exploit these new technologies and products across all subsea sectors, to the benefit of all DE REGT clients and its technology partners."
'Peter Brussee, Product line manager Oil&Energy'
DE REGT Marine Cables boasts over 90 years of technological innovation and expertise in cable design across many industry sectors, including Oil&Energy, Defense, Seismic Exploration and Scientific projects. The company’s engineering design departments include all disciplines essential to the specification and design of cable systems.
DE REGT has a strong and experienced team of engineers, capable of working on conceptual design and at project level, translating concepts into products. Familiar with the inherent design challenges in delivering a product that can function satisfactorily throughout its life, DE REGT Marine Cables offer a range of custom built systems for installation at ever increasing water depths. DE REGT has embraced the growing international consensus that alternative and sustainable energy sources should be exploited.
With significant investment in enhanced design, manufacturing, research and testing facilities, DE REGT demonstrate their commitment to continue responding to future industry challenges and technological demands, pushing the limits of depth, temperature and harsh environment capability.
Country: The Netherlands
“Seabed mining represents a considerable technical challenge but also a high potential for future business growth. ContiTech Oil & Gas wishes to be at the forefront of this move into this nascent industry and believe that our extensive experience and expertise in the offshore oil & gas, marine and dredging industries puts us in an unrivalled position. Through the Blue Nodules consortium we are able to build strong alliances with innovative European partners with a view to creating viable technical solutions, whilst at the same time ensuring a scrupulously responsible approach to environmental sustainability.”
'Peter Neale, Product Manager, Deep Sea Mining ContiTech Oil & Gas'
ContiTech Rubber Industrial Kft, based in Szeged, Hungary, is part of the Oil & Gas Division of ContiTech AG of Hanover, Germany, itself part of Continental AG, a global development supplier of advanced automotive components and technical rubber products. ContiTech Oil & Gas has over 50 years of experience in the development, manufacture and supply of flexible fluid transfer systems with a particular focus on the offshore oil & gas, marine and dredging industries. ContiTech Rubber Industrial Kft is the lead competency centre for high-pressure drilling hoses, seawater suction hoses, dredge and seabed mining hoses. With a strong technical focus on materials development, complete fluid transfer system design with the aid of the latest CAD programs, FEA software including our own modelling and simulation systems developed in-house to enable hydrodynamic, fatigue analysis etc., extensive in-house testing facilities, and market-leading production facilities, we are a recognised market leader in our field.. We are the major supplier of flexible slurry hoses to the offshore diamond mining industry in southern Africa and, in addition, recently developed a flexible riser system for the Solwara 1 seabed mining project in Papua New Guinea.
"Making offshore mining possible, profitable and sustainable is a joint ambition of DI and her sister companies within the DEME Group. The DEME Group substantiates this ambition by investing in people and assets to develop both exploration and exploitation techniques in the field of deep sea harvesting. Naturally, the project Blue Nodules fit very well within our envisaged way forward."
'Paul Vercruijsse, Manager Technology & Innovation DEME'
Dredging International (DI) is one of the primary operating companies in the DEME Group.
The Belgian dredging, environmental and marine engineering group DEME is an international market leader for complex marine engineering works.
Driven by several worldwide challenges (rising sea level – scarcity of raw materials – increasing energy demand – reduction of CO2 emissions – contamination of our waterways and soils), DEME has transformed from solely a dredging and land reclamation company to a worldwide operating multidisciplinary and innovative marine engineering and environmental group.
Building on 170 years of experience and know-how, DEME has organically moved into several related sectors, such as the financing of marine engineering and environmental projects, executing EPC related complex marine engineering projects including civil engineering works, the development and construction of renewable energy projects, providing services for the oil, gas and energy sector, the decontaminating and recycling of polluted soils and sludge, the mining of marine resources (granulates and minerals), etc.
Thanks to an integrated company structure, DEME strongly emerges as a ‘global solutions provider’ which offers its clients overall solutions. DEME has the most modern, high-tech and versatile fleet.
Since 1994, Uniresearch, an independent grant-consultancy company, has specialised in the startup and management of technology innovations. The company provides high-quality services helping clients find funding opportunities and prepare applications for regional, national, and pan-European grants like the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Program (FP7) and Horizon2020. Uniresearch’s full services support customers throughout each stage of a research and innovation project: from project definition, through consortium-building and proposal writing, to contract negotiation, project execution, and dissemination of results. In fact, Uniresearch customers enjoy a success rate for European grants that is three times higher than the average.
Country: The Netherlands
IHC MTI is Royal IHC’s knowledge and research centre, specialised in translating knowledge of dredging, offshore, mining and deep-sea mining processes into the specification, design and application of equipment. We provide sustainable solutions for today’s and tomorrow’s problems from ocean floor to water surface. This incorporates R&D and the application of this knowledge to develop engineering tools and consultancy services.
With more than 75 years of experience, MTI has gained access to a vast network of information and capability resources. IHC MTI offers its services to companies in the Dredging, Mining and Offshore industry, as well as government institutions and consultants. In addition, MTI Holland facilitates portfolio-, product- and knowledge management for the business units of IHC.
Country: The Netherlands