Underwater Mining on Mount Tropic: Do You Really “Have to Exploit”?

Date: January 16, 2021

Source: el Diario
Author: Elena Solis

In December 1872, the HMS Challenger left the English port of Portsmouth on what has been considered the first modern oceanographic expedition. In February 1873 the Challenger arrived in the Canary Islands. There, for the first time, he dug a small stone from the depths of the ocean, about the size of a potato. It was a ferro-manganese polymetallic nodule. Today we know that these nodules also contain significant concentrations of copper, cobalt, nickel and titanium and, for this reason, an underwater race has been unleashed to reach the bottom (or, rather, bottom).

More than a century later, the heir ship of the HMS Challenger, the RRS James Cook, has returned to Canary waters with the intention of continuing where the Challenger had left off. The first incursion took place between October 29 and December 8, 2016, exploring the area of ​​the Tropic seamount, 250 nautical miles (463 km) southwest of the island of El Hierro. Using an unmanned mini-submarine, 400 samples of mineralization of crusts and nodules of ferromanganese, phosphorites and volcanic rocks were taken.

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