Researchers to Return to the Site of NORI’s Nodule Collection System Test to Assess Seafloor Ecosystem Function A Year After the Test
- The upcoming offshore campaign is the latest in The Metals Company subsidiary NORI’s Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) to characterise the potential impacts of proposed polymetallic nodule collection operations.
- Scientists from several leading marine research institutions will undertake an array of studies on the site of last year’s nodule collection system test to gather further environmental data on ecosystem recovery and functioning.
- Building on the rich data gathered from 20 offshore campaigns over the last 11 years, with cumulative ESIA spending of ~$150 million, this latest campaign will further support NORI’s application to the ISA for a commercial exploitation contract.
NEW YORK, Nov. 08, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Metals Company (Nasdaq: TMC) (“TMC” or “the Company”), an explorer of lower-impact battery metals from seafloor polymetallic nodules, today provides additional details on the previously announced offshore campaign to revisit the site of last year’s nodule collection system test conducted by its subsidiary, Nauru Ocean Resources Inc. (NORI) with the objective to assess seafloor impacts and recovery rates twelve months after the test. The Company expects to commence the campaign in Q4 2023.
Researchers plan to return to the NORI-D area in the Clarion Clipperton Zone to collect further environmental data for NORI’s application for an exploitation contract, which it expects to submit following the July 2024 meeting of the International Seabed Authority, as well as to inform its Environmental Management and Monitoring Plan.
Specialized research teams will use an array of boxcore and multi-core samplers as well as various benthic lander systems to assess impacts to biota and ecosystem function on the seafloor in NORI-D. Engineers at the surface will control a Remotely Operated Vehicle to support high-precision placement of the sampling equipment in the area directly disturbed by the Allseas-designed pilot collector vehicle, as well as in areas adjacent to, and at various distances from, the site of last year’s integrated collection system trials.
TMC Environmental Manager Dr Michael Clarke, who is leading NORI’s ESIA, said: “As we bring together and process the wealth of data that we have gathered over the past 11 years, we’re using the additional time prior to our application submission to increase our knowledge base further. Building on observations from last year’s collector test monitoring campaign, the findings of this next campaign will greatly enhance the quality of our application and provide greater understanding for the regulator and stakeholders of how the abyssal ecosystem responds to our operations. This data will also be extremely valuable for our engineering teams as they refine the collection system to have a lighter touch.”
While on site, the engineering and science teams will also recover long-term oceanographic moorings and re-deploy two reference moorings from the NORI-D area before commencing long-term oceanographic monitoring on the TOML-F area held by TMC subsidiary Tonga Offshore Mining Ltd (TOML), which is adjacent to NORI-D.
NORI’s upcoming environmental campaign will add to the significant research that has been conducted in the deep sea. Since the late 1960s, over 300 hundred offshore campaigns have been conducted in international waters with over $2 billion invested in environmental baseline and impact studies and technology development, with most of the capital invested by private companies. To address knowledge gaps, research and investment have accelerated significantly since 2001 with governments and contractors like NORI spending over 6,000 days – the equivalent of almost 17 years – at sea, assessing the deep-sea environment.
About The Metals Company
The Metals Company is an explorer of lower-impact battery metals from seafloor polymetallic nodules, on a dual mission: (1) supply metals for the global energy transition with the least possible negative impacts on planet and people and (2) trace, recover and recycle the metals we supply to help create a metals commons that can be used in perpetuity. The Company through its subsidiaries holds exploration and commercial rights to three polymetallic nodule contract areas in the Clarion Clipperton Zone of the Pacific Ocean regulated by the International Seabed Authority and sponsored by the governments of Nauru, Kiribati and the Kingdom of Tonga. More information is available at www.metals.co.
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Forward Looking Statements
This press release contains “forward-looking” statements and information within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements may be identified by words such as “aims,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “could,” “estimates,” “expects,” “forecasts,” “goal,” “intends,” “may,” “plans,” “possible,” “potential,” “seeks,” “will” and variations of these words or similar expressions, although not all forward-looking statements contain these words. Forward-looking statements in this press release include, but are not limited to, TMC’s expectations with respect to the success of its upcoming offshore campaign, the results or outcomes of the campaign and the data generated during the upcoming offshore campaign respectively. The Company may not actually achieve the plans, intentions or expectations disclosed in these forward-looking statements, and you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. Actual results or events could differ materially from the plans, intentions and expectations disclosed in these forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including, among other things: the Company’s ability to satisfy the closing conditions in the securities purchase agreement; the risk that the investors will not exercise the warrants issued or issuable as part of the Registered Offering; the Company’s ability to access additional funds under the unsecured credit facility, the ATM or otherwise; the Company’s strategies and future financial performance; the International Seabed Authority’s (“ISA”) ability to timely adopt the Mining Code and/or willingness to review and/or approve a plan of work for exploitation under the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS); the Company’s ability to obtain exploitation contracts or approved plans of work for exploitation for its areas in the Clarion Clipperton Zone; regulatory uncertainties and the impact of government regulation and political instability on the Company’s resource activities; changes to any of the laws, rules, regulations or policies to which the Company is subject, including the terms of the final Mining Code, if any, adopted by ISA and the potential timing thereof; the impact of extensive and costly environmental requirements on the Company’s operations; environmental liabilities; the impact of polymetallic nodule collection on biodiversity in the Clarion Clipperton Zone and recovery rates of impacted ecosystems; the Company’s ability to develop minerals in sufficient grade or quantities to justify commercial operations; the lack of development of seafloor polymetallic nodule deposit; the Company’s ability to successfully enter into binding agreements with Allseas Group S.A. and other parties in which it is in discussions, if any; uncertainty in the estimates for mineral resource calculations from certain contract areas and for the grade and quality of polymetallic nodule deposits; risks associated with natural hazards; uncertainty with respect to the specialized treatment and processing of polymetallic nodules that the Company may recover; risks associated with collective, development and processing operations, including with respect to the development of onshore processing capabilities and capacity and Allseas Group S.A.’s expected development efforts with respect to the Project Zero offshore system; the Company’s dependence on Allseas Group S.A.; fluctuations in transportation costs; fluctuations in metals prices; testing and manufacturing of equipment; risks associated with the Company’s limited operating history, limited cash resources and need for additional financing; risks associated with the Company’s intellectual property; Low Carbon Royalties’ limited operating history and other risks and uncertainties, any of which could cause the Company’s actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, that are described in greater detail in the section entitled “Risk Factors” in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC on March 27, 2023, as updated in our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the SEC on August 14, 2023, as well as in other filings the Company may make with the SEC in the future. Any forward-looking statements contained in this press release speak only as of the date hereof, and the Company expressly disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained herein, whether because of any new information, future events, changed circumstances or otherwise, except as otherwise required by law.
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