Impossible Metals develops Technology Roadmap for Deep Sea Mining
Today, Impossible Metals reveals its roadmap for the harvesting of polymetallic nodules from the seabed with the best Environmental Social Governance (ESG) performance and the lowest costs. Regulations, currently in draft, for seabed mining issued by the ISA and domestic regulators BOEM, SBMA, etc., require the use of “best available technology/techniques.”
To meet NetZero targets by 2050 we need 600% more metal mining resulting in hundreds of new terrestrial mines with massive ESG impacts. The Impossible Metals approach will have the lowest impact—reducing the need for new terrestrial mines.
“Our first ESG and Annual Report has been published to provide transparency to our stakeholders and share our progress towards achieving our public benefit corporation objectives,” said Renee Grogan, Chief Sustainability Officer & Co-Founder.
Impossible Metals has created the first autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) for selective harvesting. Affectionately known as ‘Eureka 1,’ the novel AUV uses advanced robotics, AI, and a patent-pending buoyancy engine to glide above the seabed, accurately identifying nodules while minimizing disruption to habitat function and native biodiversity. These same AUVs will transport the collected nodules to the surface without discharge sediment plumes.
“In 2022 Our ‘Eureka-1’ demonstrated the concepts of selective harvesting and in less than 12 months we will prove this technology at depth on a nodule field in the ocean,” said Oliver Gunasekara, CEO & Co-Founder. “Combined with the significant lower cost, environmental benefits and scalability to 10 million tons per year or more, this will deliver the best available technology for seabed mining.”
On the success of the deep water test (v4) AUV, the full size (v5) AUV will be built with a payload of one shipping container. An initial fleet of 6 AUVs will then be deployed in 2026 subject to exploration permits being issued.
Impossible Metals also announces that 6K Energy has signed an LOI with Impossible Metals to purchase battery metals selectively harvested from the deep seabed. The two companies will partner to study the process of using these metals in the 6K Energy UniMelt plasma process to qualify another supply of domestic feedstocks to meet its long-term goals of full independence from foreign sources.
“6K Energy is hyper-focused on enabling a long term economically viable domestic battery material industry by delivering low-cost cathode produced with an ultra-low ESG footprint,” said Thanh Nguyen, Sr. Vice President of Deployment for 6K Energy. “Impossible Metals is leading the charge to create new options for companies like 6K Energy to source ethically-mined alternatives to traditional supply approaches.”