Germany is as a production site of high-technology products highly dependent on (noble) metals and noble earths like e.g. copper, cobalt, nickel und molybdenum. This applies accordingly for many other countries worldwide producing e.g. mobile phones, PCs or TVs. Hence, security of supply of these raw materials is of particular importance for the respective industries and the countries where the companies are resident.
Thus, Germany expects to achieve security of supply by the deep-sea raw materials. Deep-sea mining is targeted on manganese nodules, massive sulfides and cobalt crusts mainly in the Indian and the Pacific Ocean. The both last-mentioned come into existence at undersea volcanos and hot mineral springs. 176 million tons of manganese nodules at an estimated value of up to 30 billion Euro are supposed to be on the area on the sea ground which Germany licensed until yet.
Until now, there are only few experiences regarding deep-sea mining. This refers to both technical requirements to pursue deep-sea mining and the long term effects of deep-sea mining on environment. This means that there is a high demand for know-how and technologies both for research and mining. Norwegian companies and institutions with experiences in the maritime sector might find these opportunities interesting to help close the gap.
A pilot-project offshore Portugal which is part of the European raw material initiative of the EU (https://ec.europa.eu/eip/raw-materials/en/content/innovative-mining-marine-mineral-resources-%E2%80%93-european-pilot-mining-test-atlantic-tools) can be an evidence for this. Several German and Norwegian companies respectively research institutions like e.g. SINTEF, NTNU, Aker Solutions, DNV GL or MARINTEK participate in this project. Simultaneously, a few of these companies are members of the even founded “DeepSea Mining Alliance” in Germany.
Innovation Norway Hamburg is connected with members of this alliance and looks forward to support Norwegian companies in this industry.