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Mining the Oceans


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such a company was presenting in Toronto at the PDAC


the story was well-received

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A maverick Australian prospector is planning to scoop untold riches - gold, silver, copper - from the bottom of the ocean. Is it a cleaner way to mine or the beginning of an environmental disaster?




Hi Gen-X

There are a number of companies involved in this technology other than Nautilus.


The technology is not that complex. The black smokers vents are actually easy to mine based on our now established deep sea oil and gas technology.

It is basically a dredging operation with a special cutting and grinding head and enough suction to get the material to the dredging ship. The material is so soft it disintigrates inside the grinding heads and is so rich, it can be concentrated right on the ship with basically only volcanic silt discharged back into the sea. Doesn't sound like an environmental problem to me.


I had the opportunity to actually touch one of these smokers last month. They are not big and have the physical integrity of compressed talc.


The good news is they are so common on the shear plates of the Pacific Rim that their numbers cannot even be estimated. And further good news is that they are a renewable resource. Extract one, it starts rebuilding. Just like weeds in the garden.


The whole issue of this technology though raises an interesting question and I cannot get a definative answer.


If a company mines these resources, beyond the 200 mile commercial limit of any country, "Which, if an body, has jurisdiction"?


The question is not academic. Up until now, the companies involved in this activity don't seem to know based on my discussions with them. We may be looking at an new upgrade to certain concepts of the laws of the seas.



Jim Eckford


Minegate, Inc.

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