DEME’s seabed mining robot back in service following accidental uncoupling

Patania II (Photo: DEME)

A prototype deep-seabed mining robot that had become uncoupled from a cable connecting it to a surface vessel has been successfully recovered from the floor of the Pacific Ocean, DEME said in a recent press release.

Patania II, a purpose-built prototype nodule collector operated by DEME subsidiary Global Sea Mineral Resources (GSR), is currently being trialled in 4,500 metres water depth in the Clarion Clipperton Zone (CCZ) of the Pacific Ocean.

On its final dive in the GSR area on April 25, a lifting point separated and Patania II was uncoupled from the five-kilometre cable that connects it to the surface vessel.

Following a survey by a remotely operated underwater vehicle, a recovery mission was undertaken and successfully completed on Thursday, April 29.

DEME said that, prior to this incident, Patania II had demonstrated its ability to drive and manoeuvre on the deep seabed and collect polymetallic nodules. Independent monitoring of the trial by scientists from 29 European institutes was also successfully completed.

The current trial is being monitored by independent scientists who will report their findings in due course. These findings will provide some of the evidence required for rational decision making.

DEME added that GSR will only apply for a mining contract if the science shows that, from an environmental and social perspective, the seabed can be a responsible source of the primary metals needed for population growth, urbanisation, and clean energy transition.

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