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]
Mining Profile: Mike Henry, CEO, BHP
Mike Henry has over 30 years’ experience in the resources industry, working across the globe in Australia, Asia, North America, and Europe; he joined BHP in 2003. A member of the executive leadership team since 2011, Henry has held roles spanning operational, commercial, and technical.
Mike Henry graduated from the University of British Colombia with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry. He began his career in the resources industry working for Japanese tech giant Mitsubishi. Henry’s first contact with BHP came in Australia in 1999 when he helped set up the company’s coal joint venture, the BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA). By 2001, Henry had risen to Vice President of Business Development for the BMA before joining BHP’s energy coal business full time.
During his time at BHP prior roles have included President HSE, Marketing & Technology 2013-14 and President of the company’s coal business from 2015-16. Prior to succeeding Andrew McKenzie as CEO in January 2020, Henry served as President for Operations, Minerals Australia focusing on iron ore, copper, coal and nickel. Henry led 40,000 people across six assets, with revenues of $29bn, EBITDA of $16bn and a capital spend of $3bn
Under Henry’s leadership, BHP’s Minerals Australia business reduced the frequency of high potential injuries by 60% and, for the first time, became the world’s lowest-cost major iron ore producer.
Mike Henry’s exposure to the company’s global marketing efforts between 2010 and 2015 saw him earmarked for the top job at BHP, developing crucial relationships with the mining giant’s customers in China and Japan.
“His operational experience, his commercial experience, his strategic skill, his global experience … that makes him a great candidate to be the next CEO of BHP,” said outgoing CEO Andrew MacKenzie of Henry’s appointment to the role last year.
Inclusion & Diversity
Growing up in a biracial family with a mother of Japanese heritage who worked as a nurse in emergency services, Henry witnessed and experienced both ends of the inclusion spectrum.
“[Inclusion & Diversity] is quite personal for me.. I am absolutely convinced that having an inclusive culture and diverse workforce is mission critical for BHP,” he says. “Inclusive, diverse teams perform better – because they promote safety, productivity and wellbeing. Getting this right will be a serious competitive advantage for BHP. It will help us secure and motivate the best people, we’ll be more creative, and we’ll make better decisions.”
Henry spent the first half of his career in an environment where he was not from the mainstream, but where people went the extra mile to ensure he felt wholly included. “Without exception, it’s been in high-inclusion environments that I’ve thrived,” he recalls. “Where I’ve felt most fulfilled as a person. When I’ve been most committed and motivated, and where I’ve made my most significant contribution. On the rare occasion when I’ve been in an environment I experienced as less inclusive, I haven’t been at my best – a lost opportunity for both me and those around me. I have two adult daughters and my aspiration for them is that they are able to realise their dreams and potential, unconstrained by gender, or race. I need to demonstrate the values and leadership that reflect where I’ve come from and the world that I hope for and believe is possible.”
Having lead teams globally, across cultures and disciplines, Henry’s experience has been that the teams that have unlocked exceptional outcomes have been those that are highly inclusive. “There’s been an excitement and enthusiasm in those teams that sees people challenge themselves, reach higher, and be more creative,” he notes.
“Those teams are the ones that everyone wants to be part of, and the ones that truly innovate and push the organisation to new frontiers. Being part of those teams and leading them has been one of the most fulfilling aspects of my career. I am passionate about seeing people stretch themselves, learn that they’re capable of more than they perhaps thought and experience the joy of realising great outcomes.”
What does the future hold? "BHP is a company that is steeped in history,” said Henry on his appointment last year. “The one constant for the whole of BHP’s 153-year history had been great people. If you’ve got the right people you can do amazing things."