TMC Subsidiary NORI Shares Preliminary Findings on Environmental Impacts of Pilot Nodule Collection System Test
- Nauru Ocean Resources Inc. (NORI) has begun sharing emerging data on impacts of seafloor sediment plumes one year on from its 2022 test mining campaign.
- Building upon earlier laboratory predictions and in-field verifications, NORI now has multiple lines of evidence that indicate that the seafloor plume forms a gravity-driven turbidity current that hugs the seafloor and does not loft into the water column to be transported long distances by ocean currents, as has been widely speculated.
- Additional qualitative data acquired this month using a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) at the seafloor in the NORI-D area show that sessile organisms identified during NORI’s environmental baseline studies are still present twelve months after its pilot nodule collection system test in areas that have been influenced by the seafloor plume.
- In the coming months, NORI will release additional data on midwater sediment plumes which will further address concerns as to the scope and scale of their distribution.
NEW YORK, Dec. 14, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- TMC the metals company Inc. (Nasdaq: TMC) (“TMC” or the “Company”), an explorer of the world’s largest estimated undeveloped source of critical battery metals, today provided an update on the environment program of its NORI subsidiary, including a detailed overview of the latest research on the potential impacts of sediment plumes at the seafloor based upon emerging data from NORI’s 2022 pilot nodule collection system test.
Contrary to plume models created by NGOs that were widely publicized in the media, NORI’s preliminary benthic (seafloor) plume data and modelling show that sediment mobilized by its nodule collector vehicle at depths of approximately 4 kilometers (kms) forms a gravity-driven turbidity current that hugs the contours of the seafloor and does not loft up into the water column where it could possibly be transported longer distances by ocean currents.
Last month NORI provided an update on its environment program and shared the latest data on the characteristics of sediment plumes at the seafloor during a global stakeholder webinar [watch here].
During its 2022 nodule collection system trials, NORI worked with DHI Water and Environment — leading experts on sedimentation modelling — to implement a plume monitoring study. Over 50 assets and marine sensors were deployed to the 4km x 2km test field to collect data on all aspects of plume dynamics, concentration, and dispersal from which DHI have generated a verified plume model.
Building upon earlier laboratory predictions and in-field observations from previous collector tests by other contractors, multiple lines of evidence now show that the sediment plume at the seafloor is low-lying and that the dispersal of this mud is largely influenced not by ocean currents, as had been claimed, but by the contours of the seafloor. Given the efficient manner with which the Allseas-designed collector vehicle separates sediment at the seafloor, NORI believes the sedimentation footprint will narrow upon further in-field verifications taking place this month as part of its ongoing offshore campaign.
Following a global stakeholder webinar to share the preliminary results, NORI Environmental Manager Dr Michael Clarke commented: “These new findings demonstrate the shortcomings of developing plume models in the absence of any primary data and how this can lead to significant errors in the results. Models put forward by some activist groups claiming a vast area of impact are undermined by their lack of appreciation that the benthic plume forms a turbidity current spreading under its own weight away from the collector tracks, underlining the importance of investing in the science before engaging in speculation.”
In November, NORI provided additional details of its ongoing offshore environmental campaign to assess ecosystem function and recovery one year on from test mining, adding to the significant research conducted in the deep sea. Since the late 1960s, over 300 hundred offshore campaigns have been conducted in international waters with over $2 billion invested in environmental baseline and impact studies and technology development, with most of the capital invested by private companies. To address knowledge gaps, governments and contractors like NORI have spent over 9,000 days – the equivalent of almost 25 years – at sea, assessing the deep-sea environment, research and investment which has accelerated significantly since the establishment of the International Seabed Authority’s exploration regime.
About The Metals Company
The Metals Company is an explorer of lower-impact battery metals from seafloor polymetallic nodules, on a dual mission: (1) supply metals for the global energy transition with the least possible negative impacts on planet and people and (2) trace, recover and recycle the metals we supply to help create a metal commons that can be used in perpetuity. The Company through its subsidiaries holds exploration and commercial rights to three polymetallic nodule contract areas in the Clarion Clipperton Zone of the Pacific Ocean regulated by the International Seabed Authority and sponsored by the governments of Nauru, Kiribati and the Kingdom of Tonga. More information is available at www.metals.co.
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This press release contains “forward-looking” statements and information within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements may be identified by words such as “aims,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “could,” “estimates,” “expects,” “forecasts,” “goal,” “intends,” “may,” “plans,” “possible,” “potential,” “seeks,” “will” and variations of these words or similar expressions, although not all forward-looking statements contain these words. Forward-looking statements in this press release include, but are not limited to, TMC’s expectations with respect to the success of its ongoing offshore campaign, the results or outcomes of the campaign and the data generated during the ongoing offshore campaign respectively. The Company may not actually achieve the plans, intentions or expectations disclosed in these forward-looking statements, and you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. Actual results or events could differ materially from the plans, intentions and expectations disclosed in these forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including, among other things: the Company’s ability to successfully complete the ongoing campaign; the Company’s strategies and future financial performance; the International Seabed Authority’s (“ISA”) ability to timely adopt the Mining Code and/or willingness to review and/or approve a plan of work for exploitation under the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS); the Company’s ability to obtain exploitation contracts or approved plans of work for exploitation for its areas in the Clarion Clipperton Zone; regulatory uncertainties and the impact of government regulation and political instability on the Company’s resource activities; changes to any of the laws, rules, regulations or policies to which the Company is subject, including the terms of the final Mining Code, if any, adopted by ISA and the potential timing thereof; the impact of extensive and costly environmental requirements on the Company’s operations; environmental liabilities; the impact of polymetallic nodule collection on biodiversity in the Clarion Clipperton Zone and recovery rates of impacted ecosystems; the Company’s ability to develop minerals in sufficient grade or quantities to justify commercial operations; the lack of development of seafloor polymetallic nodule deposit; the Company’s ability to successfully enter into binding agreements with Allseas Group S.A. and other parties in which it is in discussions, if any; uncertainty in the estimates for mineral resource calculations from certain contract areas and for the grade and quality of polymetallic nodule deposits; risks associated with natural hazards; uncertainty with respect to the specialized treatment and processing of polymetallic nodules that the Company may recover; risks associated with collective, development and processing operations, including with respect to the development of onshore processing capabilities and capacity and Allseas Group S.A.’s expected development efforts with respect to the Project Zero offshore system; the Company’s dependence on Allseas Group S.A.; fluctuations in transportation costs; fluctuations in metals prices; testing and manufacturing of equipment; risks associated with the Company’s limited operating history, limited cash resources and need for additional financing; risks associated with the Company’s intellectual property; Low Carbon Royalties’ limited operating history and other risks and uncertainties, including those under 1A “Risk Factors” in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022, filed by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) on March 27, 2023, as updated and/or supplemented by the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2023, filed with the SEC on August 14, 2023, the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2023, filed with the SEC on November 9, 2023, this press release and in the Company’s other future filings with the SEC. The Company cautions that the foregoing list of factors is not exclusive. The Company cautions readers not to place undue reliance upon any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date made. The Company does not undertake or accept any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements to reflect any change in its expectations or any change in events, conditions, or circumstances on which any such statement is based except as required by law.
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