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Breakthrough Solutions for the Sustainable Exploration and Extraction of Deep Sea Mineral Resources (BLUE MINING)
Start date: Feb 1, 2014, End date: Jan 31, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Earth provides natural resources, such as fossil fuels and minerals, that are vital for Europe´s economy. As the global demand grows, especially for strategic metals, commodity prices rapidly rise and there is an identifiable risk of an increasing supply shortage of some metals, including those identified as critical to Europe's high technology sector. Hence a major element in any economy’s long-term strategy must be to respond to the increasing pressure on natural resources to ensure security of supply for these strategic metals. In today's rapidly changing global economic landscape, mining in the deep sea, specifically at hydrothermal vents and the vast areas covered by polymetallic nodules, has gone from a distant possibility to a likely reality within just a decade.The extremely hostile conditions found on the deep-ocean floor pose specific challenges, both technically and environmentally, which are demanding and entirely different from land-based mining.At present, European offshore industries and marine research institutions have some global advantage through their significant experience and technology and are well positioned to develop engineering and knowledge-based solutions to resource exploitation in these challenging and sensitive environments. However, against an international backdrop of state-sponsored research and development in sea floor resource discovery, assessment and extraction technologies, European operators are at an increasing disadvantage. Hence the recognised need to initiate pilot studies to develop breakthrough methodologies for the exploration, assessment and extraction of deep-sea minerals, as well as investigate the implications for economic and environmental sustainability.The “Blue Mining” project will address all aspects of the entire value chain in this field, from resource discovery (WP1) to resource assessment (WP2), from exploitation technologies (WP3) to the legal and regulatory framework (WP5).
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