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Deep-seabed mining robot Patania II successfully reconnected

A prototype deep-seabed mining robot that had become uncoupled from a cable connecting it to a surface vessel (earlier post) has been successfully recovered from the floor of the Pacific Ocean.

Patania II—Global Sea Mineral Resources’ (GSR’s) purpose-built prototype nodule collector—is currently being trialed in 4500 m water depth in the Clarion Clipperton Zone (CCZ) of the Pacific Ocean.

On its final dive in the GSR area on 25 April, a lifting point separated and Patania II was uncoupled from the 5 km 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 29 April.

We are taking a cautious, step-by-step approach to project development. We conduct these trials to better understand the challenges involved so we can continuously refine our technology. The prototype has functioned well, and learnings will be taken into the next phase of development. This is pioneering engineering work and we were prepared for multiple eventualities. Today we were able to reconnect Patania II and we look forward to completing the mission, including further deployments of Patania II.

—Kris Van Nijen, Managing Director of GSR

Prior to this incident Patania II had successfully demonstrated its ability to drive and maneuver on the deep seabed and collect polymetallic nodules. Independent monitoring of the trial by scientists from 29 European Institutes was also successfully completed.

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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