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10 Deep Sea Mining Companies to Watch in 2024

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Deep sea mining is ramping up in a variety of different jurisdictions and zones. A number of large and small players are involved, and there are a wide variety of strategies and techniques being employed.

Here's our list of the top ten most exciting deep sea mining companies to watch in 2024!

10. Cobalt Seabed Resources (CSR)

CSR holds licenses in the Cook Islands EEZ, and whilst they have been relatively quiet their licenses are of high abundance and grade.

The Cook Islands was the first nation to award exploration licenses in February 2022, and both the government and local population are highly supportive of deep sea mining.

Their EEZ contains large volumes of polymetallic nodules, with some areas exceeding 50 kg/m², and full-scale production is expected to commence around 2027/28.

For this reason we're keeping a close eye on CSR and expect to see some interesting results!

Cook Islands Exclusive Economic Zone polymetallic nodule subsea minerals resource estiamte

9. Impossible Metals

Impossible Metals is the only pure services company in this list, but despite this they have one of the most interesting and exciting business models built around a unique polymetallic nodule harvester.

Impossible has taken a completely different approach to collecting nodules than any other player. Their harvester features an array of robot "picker" arms that are guided by computer vision and AI. This has the potential to greatly reduce the amount of sediment that is lifted up when collecting nodules, and therefore decreases the impact on the ecosystem. Their approach is unique and exciting!

Impossible Metals' Eureka 1 polymetallic nodule subsea harvester

8. Adepth

Adepth is a Norwegian license holder that has developed a number of technical solutions around surveying and data analysis for deep sea mining.

They are well positioned for operations in the Norwegian EEZ, as well as contracting their services to operators in other jurisdictions.

Adepth geo map of deep sea minerals

7. Scandinavian Ocean Minerals

Scandinavian Ocean Minerals is an unusual entry in this list. They have plans to harvest polymetallic nodules in the Bothnian Bay and the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Finland.

The Bothnian Bay has a surprising density of polymetallic nodules in an area covering around ~200km². Whilst most of the deep sea mining companies on this list are exploring distant and exciting deep ocean locations, Scandinavian Ocean Minerals is developing a resource close to the heart of Europe.

The Swedish Ministry of Climate and Enterprise granted Scandinavian Ocean Minerals an exploration permit in July 2023.

Scandinavian Ocean Mineral's survey vessel Scandinavian Ocean Mineral's exploration areas

6. China Ocean Mineral Resources Research and Development Association (COMRA)

China is a dominant force in deep sea mining, and Beijing is positioning itself for success in the prospective industry by ramping up investment and shaping negotiations.

COMRA is a state-backed entity that holds a wide variety of subsea mineral licenses in international waters. They are well backed, have strong government support, and a variety of license options.

China Ocean Mineral Resources Research and Development Association (COMRA) license blocks for cobalt-rich crusts in the prime crust one of the North Pacific Ocean hina Ocean Mineral Resources Research and Development Association (COMRA) license blocks for polymetallic nodules in the Clarion Clipperton Zone China Ocean Mineral Resources Research and Development Association (COMRA) license blocks for seabed massive sulphides in the mid-Indian Ocean ridge

5. Global Sea Mineral Resources (GSR)

GSR is a subsidiary of the Belgian dredging group DEME, and is generally the quiet "second child" to the more rambunctious Metals Company.

Despite this, GSR has secured some excellent license areas in the CCZ, they have a talented and experienced team, their baseline surveying and collector testing continues, and they are backed by a large, experienced (and wealthy!) offshore operator.

GSR may be quiet, but they are skilled and effective, making them a strong contender to watch.

GSR's Patania subsea harvester

4. The Metals Company (TMC)

TMC is the undisputed leader in deep sea mining, and somewhat of a poster child for the industry. They are very advanced, well funded, with a great team.

Despite some disappointment at ISA regulatory delays and a clash with Greenpeace, 2023 saw TMC reporting very encouraging results from their NORI-D collector test follow-up, and are well positioned to start harvesting in the CCZ as soon as 2025.

Underwater image of the impact of The Metals Company's pilot collector test on subsea ecosystem

3. Transocean

The US has been relatively absent from deep sea mining....until March 2023 when an absolute behemoth entered the scene!

Transocean is the world's largest operator of deepwater drilling platforms, with 37 mobile offshore drilling units. Whilst they come to the party 5 years late (versus Allseas) they have made a number of important joint ventures with key partners, including an investment in GSR that includes contributing the Ocean Rig Olympia for conversion to a Production Support Vessel.

Transocean bring American ingenuity, tremendous offshore expertise, and financial clout to the deep sea mining industry - making them a player to watch closely.

Transocean's Olympia Production Support Vessel

2. Loke Marine Minerals

Loke burst onto the deep sea mining scene in 2019 via a joint venture with TechnipFMC, Wilhelmsen and Kongsberg.

They are a Norwegian company that is well positioned to secure licenses in the Norwegian EEZ, but crucially they acquired UKSR's licenses in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone in 2023. This gives them unique diversity around risk and opportunities.

Loke are a formidable force with an experienced team, large backers from the maritime and subsea industries, and some of the world's best licenses.

Loke Marine Minerals licenses in the Clarion Clipperton Zone

1. Moana Minerals (OML)

Moana Minerals is our #1 DSM company to watch in 2024 due to the high quality of their team, resources and progress to date.

Despite being a very quiet player in the industry, Moana Minerals holds some of the highest quality licenses in the Cook Islands EEZ, with average nodule densities of around 30 kg/m² and peaking at over 50. Their team is small but highly experienced, with background in the military, offshore diamond mining, and offshore oil and gas. Their Chairman is John Halkyard, who worked for the Kennecott Consortium in the 1970s and is one of the few current deep sea miners to have run deep sea mining operations.

Moana Minerals are quietly developing the highest-quality resource in the industry's most advanced regulatory regime

Moana Minerals / OML's survey vessel, the Anuanua Moana Moana Minerals / OML's license areas for polymetallic nodules in the Cook Islands Exclusive Economic Zone

Further Information

To learn more about deep-sea mining, operators and companies, we recommend reading the following:

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Phillip Gales is a serial entrepreneur who has built tech companies in various heavy industries including Oil & Gas, Construction, Real Estate and Supply Chain Logistics. Originally from the UK, he now lives in Toronto, Canada, with his wife and young family.

Phillip holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, and an MEng in Electrical Engineering from the University of Cambridge, specialising in Machine Intelligence.