Rare earth elements discovered in Exclusive Economic Zone of the Cook Islands deep seabed
A slew of recent discoveries in the deep seabed of the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Cook Islands have indicated potential new sources of rare earth elements and scandium.
Ocean Minerals, a deep sea mining development company based in Houston Texas, has entered into an agreement with the Cook Islands Government for exclusive prospecting and exploration rights in those areas.
Mining Global reached out to Ron Rose Jr, CEO, Director/Manager of Ocean Minerals LLC.
“Working out the agreement with the Cook Islands only begins the process of getting additional permits that would ultimately lead to mineral extraction. This guarantees us exclusivity over that area and offers us the rights to apply for those additional permits, it does not guarantee that we would get those permits. The Cook Islands regulatory framework is well laid out and makes sense so we believe getting permits is possible given confirmation of resources and ultimately reserves,”
“During the initial sampling phase involving piston coring and box sampling of the seabed, environmental baseline data will be collected. This will involve photographing the bottom looking for living creatures, measuring bottom currents, temperature, etc., analysing the sediments and cores for biologic activity evidence, grain sizing for settling rate determinations, observations of pelagic activity in the areas, etc.”
“As we move further into the development phases, environmental workshops involving locals, fisherman, NGO’s, varied scientists, and regulators are planned to come up with a reasonable sustainable best practice of mining these deep sea areas.”
But what is Ocean Minerals LLC?
Ocean Minerals is headed up by Founder and Chairman, Manager, Dr. John Halkyard and CEO, Director/Manager Ron Rose Jr.
Halkyard has a rich experience as an ocean engineer before becoming the Director of Ocean Mining Laboratory for the Kennecott Manganese Nodule Consortium in the 1970s.
In his current role, he is the President of Deep Reach Technology Inc, providers of independent and expert ocean engineering services to the offshore industry including renewable energy and the (re)emerging ocean mining industry.
Ron Rose, Jr. a mining professional with over 30 years’ experience in the mining industry. He was most recently the President of Southern Ionics Minerals LLC, where he initiated and managed a heavy mineral surface mine that produces a rare earth concentrate.
Ocean Minerals works closely with Deep Reach Technology (DRT). The Exclusive Economic Zone of the Cook Islands was discovered during a research study if alternative sources of Rare Earth Elements.
Rare earth elements are identified as critical in the makeup of high tech, energy and defence applications.
Scandium, when added in small quantities to aluminum, creates a metal alloy which is extremely light, strong, corrosion resistant, heat tolerant, and weldable. The use of such an alloy in automobiles and aircraft could yield fuel savings while protecting lives.
In the modern world, China accounts for 90 percent of the world’s supply of Rare Earth Elements – increasing the significance of the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Cook Islands.
Back in August, Mining Global spoke with the CEO of Nautilus Minerals, Mike Johnston, on the current outlook on deep sea mining.
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Get in touch with our editor Dale Benton at [email protected]
Unmanned train to allow Vale to reopen iron ore plant
Brazilian miner Vale SA will be able to resume operations at its Timbopeba iron ore dry processing plant in up to two months thanks to the use of an unmanned train, the company said in a statement this week.
Vale - Timbopeba iro ore plant
With the train, Timbopeba will be able to operate at least at 80% of its capacity of 33,000 tonnes of iron ore “fines” per day, reports Reuters.
Vale was forced to shut down the plant in the Alegria mine complex recently after labor authorities in Minas Gerais state banned activities close to the Xingu dam due to concerns of a risk of collapse.
Vale said access by workers and vehicles continues to be suspended in the flood zone of the dam due to the ban even though it remains at emergency level 2, which means there no imminent risk of rupture.
But some workers are allowed entry under strict security precautions and they will get the unmanned train going once it has been tested, which would take between one and two months, the company said.
The unmanned train will travel automatically along 16 kilometers (10 miles) of track operated by a system that can control the speed and activate the brakes, Vale said.
Vale announces first ore at Voisey’s Bay mine extension
Vale has reached the milestone of first ore production at the Reid Brook deposit at the Voisey’s Bay mine expansion project in Northern Labrador, Canada - recognised as the safest mine in Canada.