UK Seabed Resources, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin UK has obtained a license to prospect for high-value minerals in a 58,000-square-kilometer area of the Pacific between Hawaii and Mexico.
The company said mining polymetallic nodules from the seabed could contribute around 40 billion pounds to the U.K. national economy over a 30-year period and could provide opportunities for supply-chain companies here that already have North Sea oil and gas expertise.
Fueled by increasing prices for raw materials, the company hopes to extract tennis ball-sized nodules of copper, nickel, cobalt and manganese, as well as rare earth minerals that sit on the seabed around four kilometers below the surface.
The company hopes to use technologies already developed for the aerospace and defense sector to help make the exploitation financially viable.
Developments in space, unmanned aerial vehicles and underwater vehicles for the oil industry have changed the financial dynamics of deep sea mining, said Lockheed Martin UK.
The company is targeting a combination of remotely operated or autonomous underwater vehicles, pumps, suction and riser pipes to extract the minerals.
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