Britain plunges into deep sea mining with American company

Britain’s prime minister announced Thursday the country would partner with an American company to mine the depths of the Pacific Ocean for metals and rare earth minerals, reports the Guardian.

David Cameron said the international seabed mining industry could garner the national economy 40 billion pounds ($60 billion) during the next 30 years.

US-based Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) — the world’s biggest defence contractor —  via its subsidiary UK Seabed Resources will spearhead the exploration of a British licence off the coast of North America.

The company says their data revealed large numbers of small rocks, rich in copper, nickel, cobalt and rare earths, on the ocean floor west of Mexico and south of Hawaii, reports the BBC.

The plan is to vacuum up the lumps from the sea floor, at depths of about 4 kilometres, and pipe them to the surface.

Mining rights are controlled by the International Seabed Authority, convened under the UN’s Convention of the Law of the Sea. To date, it has issued 13 licences, which are sold for $500,000 each and valid for 15 years, to countries like China, India, Russia, Japan and South Korea.

Check out the BBC’s interactive video to learn more about deep sea mining

BBC screenshot of deep sea mining video











Screenshot of BBC video (above)

Front page image: Shutterstock