The Deep Sea Resources Rush
Insatiable demand for minerals and rare earth elements, coupled with dwindling resources on land have stakeholders across the world looking to a new frontier: the deep sea.
Advancing mining technologies are making the prospect of exploiting seafloor minerals—including gold, copper, zinc, cobalt and rare earth elements (REEs)—not only possible but also imminent, with commercial licenses to be granted by the International Seabed Authority from 2016.
China has a stronghold on REEs, controlling a staggering 97% of global production. These finite elements and other precious minerals are used in the creation of a massive range of electronics devices, emerging green technologies and weapon systems, triggering a strategic scramble to exploit new sources.
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Photo credit: Nautilus Minerals