Apr 3, 2021

DeepGreen hits back at WWF led critics of seafloor mining

DeepGreen
WWF
seafloor
Decarbonisation
Daniel Brightmore
3 min
DeepGreen
DeepGreen maintains "an exacting commitment to science-based impact analysis and environmental protection" is informing its strategy...

Canada's DeepGreen Metals, a seafloor mining project which recently announced plans to go public, has hit back at critics calling for a moratorium on mining the seabed.

Google, the WWF and BMW were among those calling for a deep-sea mining ban until the environmental risks of this mining process are "comprehensively understood".

Nodules

In an open letter to the brands call for a ban on seafloor mining, DeepGreen stated: "We agree that seafloor minerals development should be approached cautiously and with an exacting commitment to science-based impact analysis and environmental protection. A precautionary approach has informed our strategy from the outset, including our mission to provide battery metals sourced from deep-ocean nodules that generate zero solid waste, no toxic tailings, and a fraction of the carbon emissions compared to land-based sources. 

"Such environmental benefits can be achieved only through collecting polymetallic nodules, 4,000 meters deep on the abyssal plain where the abundance of life is up to 1,500 times less than in the vibrant ecosystems on land from where battery metals are currently sourced. Nodules lie unattached on the seafloor, and the extractive processes will not affect the integrity of the seafloor crust. This is different to other resource types that are the impetus for the moratorium being put forth by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)."

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Net-Zero

The signatories of the moratorium in opposition to DeepGreen's plan also include Volvo and battery maker Samsung SDI. However, DeepGreen said it shared a common goal for "achieving a net-zero-emissions future while protecting the oceans and other ecosystems from climate change". 

DeepGreen countered the argument against seafloor mining by pointing out that the largest land-based deposits of nickel - the key ingredient in EV batteries - lie beneath biodiverse, carbon-sequestering ecosystems in Indonesia and the Philippines. "Consumer brands that refuse to consider alternative mineral supplies will be complicit in increased deforestation, toxic tailings, child labour (in the case of cobalt), and destruction of terrestrial habitats and carbon sinks."

Battery Metals

DeepGreen argued polymetallic nodules can provide key battery metals with up to 90% less carbon emissions equivalent, with no child labour. "In order to achieve electrification of the vehicle fleet without destroying terrestrial ecosystems, we need to explore creative solutions for the mineral supply chain including the responsible use of seabed minerals. Car companies like BMW and Volvo that are pledging to go all electric should focus sourcing decisions on actual indicators of impact and once they see the full data, they will most likely reconsider."

“Given the current lack of available material for recycling, we will need a massive injection of these metals to build up a sufficient stock if we are to stop extracting from the planet and enable a closed-loop economy,” the company said.

DeepGreen

DeepGreen Metals Inc. is a deepsea minerals exploration and development company on a dual mission: (1) supply metals for the green transition with the least possible negative environmental and social impact and (2) accelerate the transition to a circular metal economy. The company holds exploration rights to two polymetallic nodule contract areas in the Clarion Clipperton Zone sponsored by the governments of Nauru and Kiribati and regulated by the International Seabed Authority. DeepGreen has developed a process for producing metals from polymetallic nodules with near-zero solid waste, eliminating the need for tailings dams on land.     

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May 10, 2021

Ma'aden celebrates 5th anniversary of Vision 2030

Ma'aden
Sustainability
Vision 2030
phosphate mining
3 min
Saudia Arabia's Ma'aden highlights key achievements since the Vison 2030 launch and continued growth for its 'mine to market' aluminium value chain

Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden), one of the world’s fastest-growing global mining companies, celebrates the fifth anniversary of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030. The Kingdom’s mining champion highlights key achievements since the Vision 2030 launch and plans that reflect its commitment to the Kingdom’s social and economic development.

Vision 2030

The Kingdom has implemented significant incentive programs and announced major reforms in the last five years to accelerate the development of the mining industry as a strategic pillar of the Saudi economy, including the recently launched mining investment law to attract investors and pave the way for the full utilisation of Saudi Arabia’s mineral resources, which are estimated to be worth more than $1.3trn. This goes in line with the objectives of the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program (NIDLP), one of the most important programs for achieving Vision 2030.

Ma'aden

Ma’aden has kept its projects across a range of commodities moving on a strong growth trajectory since 2016. The company has expanded its investment portfolio, refinanced key projects, and made its first international acquisition, laying the foundation for future growth and new investment opportunities in the Saudi mining industry. Despite some challenges in 2020 due to COVID-19, Ma’aden managed to maintain its agility and remained focused on its goal to become a global Saudi mining giant, while adhering to the highest standards of health, safety, and environment.

Located on the east coast of Saudi Arabia, Ras Al-Khair Industrial City jumpstarted the mining industry development in Saudi Arabia, leveraging the country’s strategic location in connecting three continents. In November 2016, Ras Al-Khair Industrial City was further expanded and connected via railway to Ma’aden’s bauxite mine in Qassim and phosphate mine in Al Jalamid, making it a cornerstone of the Kingdom’s mineral and metal production and export industries. 

Aluminium

Ma’aden’s integrated ‘mine to market’ aluminium value chain is the largest in the Middle East and one of the largest in the world, with investments over $11bn. Aluminium products of the highest international standards are sold to both domestic and global markets, encouraging the development of additional downstream aluminium-based industries in Saudi Arabia and neighboring countries. Operations are centered around the largest and most efficient vertically integrated aluminium complex in the world, in Ras Al Khair Industrial City, which also houses sulfur and phosphate production facilities.

Phosphate

Intending to capture the full value of Saudi Arabia’s significant phosphate reserves and develop new mining and mineral activities, in 2018, Ma’aden celebrated the inauguration of the industrial city of Wa’ad Al Shamal by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdul Aziz. Wa’ad Al Shamal is a world-class industrial and mining city in the Northern Borders region of Saudi Arabia. This phosphate super hub will continue to grow with Ma’aden’s latest phosphate megaproject, which is primed to increase phosphate fertilizer capacity to reach 6 million tonnes, making Ma’aden the world’s third-largest producer of phosphate fertilizer and Saudi Arabia the second largest global exporter.

Meridian

In 2018, Ma’aden also acquired an 85% stake in Meridian, the Mauritius-based fertilizer distribution group, strengthening its position as one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of phosphate fertilizers. This acquisition marked Ma’aden’s first investment outside the Kingdom, in line with the company’s goal to expand globally and significantly contribute to the Kingdom's Vision 2030.

In 2019, Ma’aden commenced construction of the Mansourah and Massarah gold mine, the company’s largest-ever gold project and the Kingdom’s first project to utilize solar power as an energy source. Once operational, the mine and its processing facilities will have a key role in achieving Ma’aden’s target of producing 1 million ounces of gold per year by 2025.

These accomplishments are all due to the steppingstones set by the Saudi Vision 2030, which laid the foundations for creating an attractive environment for local and foreign investments in promising growth sectors and unlocking new ones, in addition to developing remote areas, bringing technologies and knowledge to the Kingdom, establishing specialized and modern industrial cities, and generating diverse job opportunities for Saudi nationals.

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