Ocean manganese nodules


Material Information

Ocean manganese nodules
Physical Description:
xvi, 163 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
Library of Congress -- Congressional Research Service
Mielke, James E
United States -- Congress. -- Senate. -- Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs
U.S. Govt. Print. Off.
Place of Publication:
Publication Date:
2d ed.


Subjects / Keywords:
Manganese nodules   ( lcsh )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
federal government publication   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references.
General Note:
At head of title: 94th Congress, 2d session. Committee print.
Statement of Responsibility:
prepared by James E. Mielke, the Congressional Research Service, at the request of Henry M. Jackson, chairman, Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, United States Senate, February 1976.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 025741384
oclc - 02104356
lccn - 76601557
System ID:

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Letter of transmittal
        Page v
        Page vi
    Ocean manganese nodules
        Page vii
        Page viii
    Table of Contents
        Page ix
    List of Figures
        Page x
    List of Tables
        Page xi
        Page xii
        Page xiii
        Page xiv
        Page xv
        Page xvi
    I. Introduction
        Page 1
        Page 2
    II. Composition, formation, and distribution of manganese nodules
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
    III. Mining: Site selection, technology and processing
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
    IV. Environmental concerns
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
    V. Mining interests and economics
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
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    VI. Government activities
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
    VII. Legislative history
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
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        Page 65
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    VIII. International considerations
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
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        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
    Appendix A. Letter from Charles N. Brower of the State Department to Senator Henry M. Jackson
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
    Appendix B. Letter from Representative Thomas N. Downing and Senator Lee Metcalf to Secretary of Commerce Frederick B. Dent
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
    Appendix C. Letter from Secretary Frederick B. Dent to Senate Lee Metcalf
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
    Appendix D. S. 713
        Page 119
        Page 120
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    Appendix E. Deepsea Ventures, Inc.: Notice of discovery and claim of exclusive mining rights, and request for diplomatic protection and protection of investment
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
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        Page 157
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        Page 159
        Page 160
    Appendix F. U.S. Department of State: Statement on claim of exclusive mining rights by Deepsea Ventures, Inc.
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
    Back Cover
        Page 164
Full Text
qj- P

94th Congress coMIEE PRI
2d Session O






Printed for the use of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 8-675 0 WASHINGTON : 1976

HENRY M. JACKSON, Washington, Chairman
GRENVILLE GARSIDE, Special Counsel and Staff Director DANIEL A. DREYFUS, Deputy Staff Director for Legislation WILLIAM J. VAN NESS, Chief Counsel D. MICHAEL HARVEY, Deputy Chief Counsel MERRILL W. ENGLUND, Special Committee Assistant for Outer Continental Shelf HARRISON LoESCH, minority counsel


To Member of the Senate Interior and Insular Affairs Committee
The question of who owns, or is responsible for, the two-thirds of the earth, which lies under the oceans, has concerned me since 1969 when I appointed Senator Lee Metcalf to head a Special Suboommittee on the Outer Continental Shelf.
Since then, the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs has held hearings on the general subject and on specific legislation. We also have monitored the Third United Nations Conference on the Iaw of the Sea and its preparatory meetings. As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Minerals, Materials and Fuels, Senator Metcalf has continued to provide constructive leadership.
We share a sense of urgency about a source of minerals from the oceans--minerals basic to our economy-minerals which now come almost exclusively from foreign sources-minerals which we can discover and have a right to develop under existing international law and with due regard to the other uses of the oceans.
There is increasing pressure by many nations for stringent limitations on access to raw materials lying within their borders and increased prices for those raw materials which are made available to industrial nations. These nations call these policies steps to a "new economic order." We call them cartels.
Some of these minerals are contained in the manganese nodules which literally pave the ocean floor in many parts of the world. With increased public awareness of the importance of the nodules as our mineral supply came also a need for what I would call a primer. In 1975, 1 asl ed the Congressional Research Service, of the Library of Congress for such a document. The Committee print of that report was widely circulated and is now out of print.
The second edition of that report, updated by the Congressional Research Service, follows. I commend it to the attention of those interested in this vital and complex subject.
HEwRy M. JACKSON, Chairman.

Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2013



CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE, Washington, D.C., January 20,1976.
Chairman, Subcommittee on Minerals, Materials and Fuels, Comimittee on Interior and Insular Affairs, U.S. Senate, l'aehington, D.C.
DEAR SENATOR METCALF: In response to your request, I am submitting an updated version of the primer on manganese nodules published in June 1975.
This report, titled "Ocean Manganese Nodules, Second Edition," reflects recent events and the issues brought out in the October and November hearings of your committee and ties them into the past record. The primer is intended to serve as a background report on deep seabed mining covering such topics as location of manganese nodule deposits. site evaluation, technology of mining nodules, economic implications, commercial interests, government activities, foreign activities and legislative history. As the outcome of the Third U.N. Conference on the Law of the Sea is not yet clear and several hurdles with regard to deep seabed mining remain to be cleared, possible treaty implications to the United States are also considered.
This report was prepared by Dr. James E. Mielke, Analyst in Marine and Earth Sciences of the Science Policy Research Division.
We hope this report serves your committee's needs as well as those of other Members of the House and Senate in the consideration of interim domestic legislation to encourage and regulate deep seabed mining until an acceptable Law of the Sea treaty is attained.
NORMAN BECKMAN, Acting Director.

[Second Edition]
Prepared by
James E. Mielke
Science Policy Research Division Congressional Research Service
Library of Congress
at the Request of
Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs
United States Senate
February 1976


Memorandum of the Chairman ----------------------------------------- Ila
Letter of transmittal ---------- ------------------------------- v
Summary ----------------------------------------------------------- xin
I. Introduction ---------------------------------------------------- 1
II. Composition, formation, and distribution of manganese nodules ---- 3
Shape ----------------------------------------------------- 3
Surface texture --------------------------------------------- 4
Structure ------------------------------------------------- 4
Composition ----------------------------------------------- 5
Elemental composition --------------------------------- 5
Mineralogy --------------------------------------------- 6
Formation of manganese nodules ---------------------------- 6
Biological origins ------------- r ------------------------- 6
Inorganic origins ----------- ------------------------- 7
Geographical distribution ------------------------------------ 7
North Pacific Ocean -------------------------------------- 11
South Pacific Ocean ------------------------------------ 12
North Atlantic Ocean ------------------------------------ 12
South Atlantic Ocean ----------------------------------- 12
Indian Ocean ------------------------------------------ 12
III. Mining: Site selection, technology and processing ----------------- 13
Mine site selection ------------------------------------------ :13
Nodule mining technology ------------------------------------ 15
Air-lift pumping --------------------------------------- 15
Hydraulic lift ----------------------------------------- 18
Mechanical lift ---------------------------------------- 18
Nodule processing technology -------------------------------- 20
Hydrochlorination ------------------------------------- 21
Sulfur dioxide roasting and water leaching --------------- 22
Ammoniacal leaching ---------------------------------- 23
Sulfuric acid leaching ----------------------------------- 24
Smelting ------------------------------ ----------------- 25
IV. Environmental concerns ----------------------------------------- 27
Previous research ------------------------------------------- 27
Specific effects ---------------------------------------------- 27
Repopulation ------------------------------------------ 27
Transplantation --------------------------------------- 28
Surface water contamination ---------------------------- 28
Pollution from shipboard processing ----------------------- 29
Common effects -------------------------------------------- 29
Findings and further investigations -------------------------- 29
Impacts of alternative sources ------------------------------- 30
V. Mining Interests and economics ---------------------------------- 31
U.S. mining Interests --------------------------------------- 31
The Howard Hughes enigma -------------------------------- 32
International consortia ------------------------------------- 35
Foreign Interests ------------------------------------------ 37
Problems In determining the economic impact of nodule
mining ------------------------------------------------- 38
Establishing an International authority ------------------ 38
Size of operation ---------------------------------------- 38
Metal production per ton of nodules ---------------------- 39
Timing of nodule operations ------------------------------ 40
Economic Impact of nodule mining ---------------------------- 41
Nickel --------------------- ------------ .-: ----------- 4A
Copper ------------------------------------------------ 1%
Manganese --------------------------------------------- 61
Cobalt ------------------------------------------------- 53
L6*S-term economic prospects of nodule mining ---------------- 55


VI. Government activities ------------------------------------------- 57
United States ----------------------------------------------- 57
Foreign government activities ------------------------------- 57
Australia ---------------------------------------------- 57
Federal Republic of Germany --------------------------- 57
France ----------------------------------------------- 58
Japan ------------------------------------------------ 58
New Zealand ------------------------------------------ 58
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics ---------------------- 59
United Kingdom ------------------------ 7 ---------------- 59
Canada ----------------------------------------------- 59
VII. Legislative history ---------------------------------------------- 61
Confronting the issues --------------------------------------- 61
Legislative concern in the 90th Congress ---------------------- 61
Legislative concern in the 91st Congress ---------------------- 62
Legislative concern in the 92d Congress ----------------------- 65
Legislative concern in the 93d Congress ---------------------- 71
The first session ---------------------------------------- 71
The second session -------------------------------------- 79
Legislative concern in the 94th Congress ---------------------- 84
VIII. International considerations -------------------------------------- 89
Possible cartel action ------------------ --------------------- 80
United Nations activities and relations ---------------------- 92
Nodule surveys ----------------------------------------- 92
First and second Law of the Sea Conferences ---------------- 92
U.N. relations and the third Law of the Sea Conference -------- 94
Possible treaty implications ------------------------------ 101

A. Letter from Charles N. Brower of the State Department to Senator
Henry M. Jackson ------------------------------------------------- 105
B. Letter from Representative Thomas N. Downing and Senator Lee
Metcalf to -Secretary of Commerce Frederick B. Dent -------------- Ill
C. Letter from Secretary Frederick B. Dent to Senate Lee Metcalf ------ 115 D. S. 713 ------------------------------------------------------------ 119
E. Deepsea Ventures, Inc.: Notice of discovery and claim of exclusive
mining rights, and request for diplomatic protection and protection of
investment ------------------------------------------------------ 147
F. U.S. Department of State: -Statement on claim of exclusive mining
rights by Deepsea Ventures, Inc ---------------------------------- 161


1. Nodules recovered during trial mining operations in the Atlantic
Ocean in 1970 ---------------------------------------------------- 4
2. Nodule frequency versus depth in sediment ------------------------- 9
3. Nodule deposits in the North Pacific --------------------------------- 10
4. Nodule deposits in the South Pacific ------------------------------- 10
5. Nodule deposits in the North Atlantic ------------------------------- 11
6. Nodule deposits In the South Atlantic and Western Indian Oceans ---- 11 7. Offshore exploration of nodules ------------------------------------ 14
8. Three systems proposed for mining nodules -------------------------- 16
9. Research Vessel Deep8ea Miner ------------------------------------- 17
10. Continuous Line Bucket System for deep ocean nodule mining --------- 19 11. Hydrochloric acid process ------------------------------------------ 22
12. Ammonia leach process -------------------------------------------- 23
13. Sulfuric acid process ---------------------------------------------- 24
14. Figure from patent Issued to Global Marine, Inc --------------------- 34
15. U.S. demand for minerals supplied by imports in 1974 --------------- 50


1. Projected U.S. consumption and Percent of imports satisfied by nodule Page mining operations by 1985 and 2000 ------------------------------ xvi
2. Element analyses of Pacific manganese nodules --------------------- 5
3. Average analyses of manganese nodules ----------------------------- 12
4. Comparison of 3 and 4 metal production from nodules ---------------- 21
5. Estimated metal production per million tons of high grade nodules ---- 39
6. Estimated 1985 recovery of metals by U.S. deep-ocean mining enterprises, and value at 1973 prices ----------------------------------- 40
7. Manganese nodules: commercially attractive constituents projections for future demand ---------------------------------------------- 42
& Projected market value of U.S. production of metals from manganese
nodules in 1985 and 2000 ----------------------------------------- 43
9. Probable metals production from nodules and estimated net import requirements of industrial countries in 1985 ----------------------- 44
10. Approximate 1971 value of mineral production ---------------------- 45
11. Approximate value of mineral production Group of 77 versus other
countries ------------------------------------------------------ 45
=-Participation in nodule mining consortia by U.S. firms and estimated
nodule recovery by 1985 ------------------ ------------------------ 46
13. Projected U.S. consumption and percent of imports satisfied by nodule
mining operations in 1985 and 2000 ------------------------------ 47
14. Nickel: World mine production and reserves -------------------------- 49
15. Copper: World mine production and reserves ------------------------ 51
16, Manganese: Stockpile status November 30, 1975 --------------------- 5-2
17. Manganese: World mine production and reserves --------------------- 53
18. Cobalt: World mine production and reserves ------------------------ 54
19. Reserves of metals in manganese nodulesof the Pacific Ocean -------- 56 20. Changing import requirements of the United States ------------------ 79
21. Functions of the Ocean Mining Administration --------------------- 85

Ferromanganese nodules 1 are potato-shaped concretions found on the floor of the ocean throughout many parts of the world. In some areas, the ocean floor is literally paved with nodules. The Pacific Ocean alone is estimated to contain 1.5 trillion tons of nodules which are forming at the rate of about 10 million tons per year. There are about 25 factors involved in the process to determine the economic value of a potentially mineable deposit of manganese nodules. Of these factors, the grade of the nodules, particularly their copper, nickel, manganese, and cobalt content, is the most important. The deposits of the Pacific Ocean, found in an east-west belt 200 kilometers wide south of Hawaii, in water deeper than 4,000 meters, hold the greatest economic promise at the present time.
Technology for mining and processing ferromanganese nodules is complex, and several methods are being developed. Three basic nodule recovery systems are under investigation: (1) mechanical, cable-bucket systems, (2) air-lift pumping, and (3) hydraulic lift without air. Processing ferromanganese nodules is much more difficult than processing oxide or sulfide land ores. Most of the methods being developed involve complex roasting and leaching techniques.
The impact of nodule mining on the deep ocean environment has been a concern expressed by many individuals. Research is underway to assess the extent of this impact on the biota of the deep ocean and on the quality of the surface water. Chemical and biological observations have been carried out using prototype mining systems. Results to date indicate that the environmental impact of deep ocean mining is negligible, far less than natural disturbances such as turbidity currents.
Exploration for, and development of technology for recovering, manganese nodules from the deep seabed have been underway for more than a decade. Several countries including the United States, Great Britain, France, West Germany, Japan, Canada, and the Soviet Union have interests in deepsea mining. U.S. firms have lead positions in this field but are hesitant to proceed to commercial exploitation without some guarantee of security for their projected large investments of $300 to $500 million for each mine site. Since 1971, bills have been introduced in Congress to provide some form of investment guarantee and regulation of mining activities. Initially, these bills represented solely the views of the American Mining Congress and were sponsored in the House and Senate for discussion purposes. No action was recommended by the Administration for fear of prejudicing the outcome of discussions in the United Nations with regard to a future conference on the Law of the Sca. As progrress in the United Nations appeared minimal, and U.S. congressional hearings brought out other considerations, the deep seabed mining legislation was redrafted to provide necessary regulation and investment security, while allowing the Tird U.N. Law
I The terms "ferromanganese nodules," "manganese nodules" and "iron-manganese nodules" are used Interchangeably.


of -the Sea Conference adequate time to produce a seabed treaty before commercial exploitation by U.S. nationals would be permitted.
In the meantime, most U.S. firms interested in seabed mining have joined international consortia as a means of gaining investment security, risk sharing, and pooling financial resources. They argue that in the absence of international 1-a7w restricting deep seabed exploitation, they have the right to mine nodules in international waters. The Department of State supports this view. Obviously, the more countries, or parties jointly engaged in such activities, the less likelihood there would be of c I aim-jumping or other conflicts.
The United States is heavily dependent on the metals contained in manganese nodules, primarily nickel, copper, manganese, and cobalt. There is no domestic mine production of manganese and cobalt, and domestic nickel production supplies less than 10 percent of our needs. In addition, nickel and copper are not currently stockpiled by tl e government. While the United States is a major copper producer, in 1974 nearly 20 percent of the copper consumed in the United States was imported. The reliability of foreign sources and the possibility of cartel action are subjects of grave concern. In this regard, the possibility that a vast resource of these metals could become available to the United States through the operations of U.S. nationals while at the same time respecting the rights of all nations to the "Common heritage of mankind" is a matter that bears serious legislative consideration.
The majority of nations represented at the Third U.N. Law of the Sea Conference are from developing countries whose interests are markedly dissimilar to those of the United States and other technologically advanced countries. This has been amply demonstrated in the negotiations of the former Seabed Committee (now Committee I of the Conference) by the position taken by the developing countries and by their formation of a common negotiating bloc called the Group of 77 (now 106 countries). This group, representing approximately two thirds of the voting delegates, generally favors a form of strong international control of seabed exploitation that is unacceptable to e United States. The Seabed Authority envisioned by the Group of 77 would be effectively controlled by the developing countries (one country, one vote), and would exercise arbitrary power over seabed development. This would be accomplished by permitting mining only by the Authority or, initially, through contract arrangements under which the Authority would maintain direct and complete control of all mining operations.
The U.S. position at the Third U.N. Law of the Sea Conference favors a seabed mining authority that would permit qualified countries and private entities on a nondiscriminatory basis to mine areas of the seabed. The whole system for aranting giants would be strucWred in the treaty to be economically efficient and to attract and guarantee security of investment. Faced with the prospects of little substantive progress toward attaining an acceptable treaty, the Administration has recently be -min draftinpr legislation to regulate domestic firms who engage in deep seabed mining. This legislation would also

delay commercial exploitation to allow the U.N. Law of the Sea Conference additional time to reach an agreement. In further anticipation of deep ocean mining by U.S. citizens, an Ocean Mining Administration has been established in the Department of the Interior -and an Office of Marine Minerals in the Department of 'Commerce. It is anticipated that commercial mining of the deep seabed for manganese nodules will probably begin by 1980, and that U.S. firms will be involved.
Based on recent information regarding participation by U.S. firms and U.S. subsidiaries of foreign interests in international consortia, projections can be made of the benefit to the United States f rom nodule mining operations by 1985 and 2000. The total annual tonnage of nodules likely to -be processed and marketed by U.S. interests by 1985 could range from 4.5 to 6 million tons. This projection assumes that present diffculties regarding the entry of U.S. firms into commercial operations are resolved within the next year. This estimated recovery is based on only those firms which have announced plans for commercial operations and does not include members of the CLB Group 2 which was formed for exploration and systems development only.
Using the estimated nodule recovery of 5 million tons and extensions of U.S. Bureau of Mines projections of annual increases in domestic demand for the metals contained in nodules. the percent of imports and percent of U.S. consumption satisfied by U.S. controlled nodule mining operations by 1985 can be estimated (Table 1). Imports of manganese ore and ferromanganese would not likely be reduced by nodule mining by more than a few percent (the amount of U.S. consumption of high purity forms of manganese) unless manganese from nodules can in the future be marketed at a price competitive with high carbon ferromangranese. By 1985 the United States could satisfy 95 percent of the projected domestic demand for low and medium carbon ferromanganese and silicomanganese, and reduce imports of nickel approximately 24 percent, reduce copper imports 8.5 percent and be essentially self sufficient in cobalt. By 2000 nickel imports could be reduced by 31 percent (or further with -substitution by cobalt) and copper imports by 10.4 percent. These projections assumee, that the present levels of imports to demand would otherwise be maintained which may be somewhat questionable. especially in the case of copper where the import ratio would likely increase. On the other hand, if other U.S. firms enter into commercial scale nodule mining operations, imports could be reduced still further.
Based on 1975 prices, the above projection of nodule mining could supply the United States with approximately $0.8 billion per year in metals by the year 2000. Nodule mining by other countries or foreign shares in consortia could likely total three to five times this amount per year by then.V
2 In this study, CLB Group refers only to the consortium organized by Dr. John L. M.fero of Ocean Resources Inc. Many ,members of this, group are now participants In the consortium recently formed by International Nickel Co, (INCO) which has announced Intentions to proceed to commercial operations If deemed fe~tsible. Some confusion may arise as the INCO consortium has also been referred to as the CLB Group (Oceanography Ncwsletter, Apr. 21, 1975).


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Manganese nodules were first discovered by the Challenger expedition (1873-76) and have engaged the interest of oceanographers ever since. With the recent advent of technology capable of extracting minerals from the deep ocean floor, commercial interest is further heightened by growing world-wide demand for metals concentrated in manganese nodules. Increasing dependence on foreign mineral suppliers and the resulting balance of payments deficits are causing concern in the United States. In view of the increasing accessibility to exploitation of these unclaimed seabed riches and international concern for the rights and claims of all nations to a share of the world's resources, national policies and international conventions for regulating or controlling the deep seabed resources are being developed. This background report on manganese nodules, the technology for recovering them, mining interests currently involved, legislative concerns, and international negotiations; in this area has been prepared as a reference tool for further congressional activity in directing a national policy for deep seabed mining.

65-675 0 76 2

Ferromanganese nodules are concretions that occur on the ocean floor generally in water deeper than 2,000 meters. There are two dominant types of ferromanganese deposits: (1) thick slabs or crusts which frequently develop on submarine elevations where current activity prevents normal sediment accumulation and provides a continuous supply of metals, and (2) nodules which form at great depth around nucleii of rock. Want, or animal remains. The encrustations do not appear to be economically significant whereas some nodule deposits are potentially profitable to mine. Nodules are the most common form of seabed iron-manganese concretions.
Ferromanganese nodules vary widely in shape, composition, surface texture, and internal structure. In individual localities the nodules are generally similar, but significant variations commonly occur from one locality to another. Variations may even be found over the distance of a few hundred yards. Knowledge of variations in the composition of the nodules is of importance to mining interests as most processing techniques are tailored to a fairly specific and uniform ore supply. Furthermore, some hydraulic mining techniques are designed to recover nodules within only a limited size range.
Nodules look like little black potatoes ranging in size from 1 to 15 centimeters (cm) in diameter and average about 5 cm across. The gross shape of lar e nodules appears to be controlled by asymmetric growth rather than fy the shape of the core or nucleus.


FiouiE 1.-Nodules on the conveyor belt after discharge from nodule/water
separator during trial mining operations in the Atlantic Ocean in 1970.
Courtesy : Deepsea Ventures, Inc.

Ferromanganese nodules exhibit several types of surface texture: smooth with black lustrous patches, sandpaper-like or gritty, "goose bumps" or numerous small welts, and knobby.' Generally two textures such as smooth and gritty are found on the same nodule. Many nodules have old fractures partly healed with additional manganese material and clay.
Variations in structure of the nodules are common; however, most appear to be layered in the form of concentric rings around a small nucleus. Each layer represents a compositional or mineralogical unit ranging in thickness from rings visible with the naked eye down to microscopic structures. The original surface of the layers was honeycombed, but the pores were subsequently filled with clay and the materials reorganized as the nodule grew by adding new layers. Some nodules or portions of nodules are nearly non-crystalline and, con' Raab, W. Physical and chemical features of Pacific deep sea manganese nodules and their Implications to the genesis of nodules. In Ferromanganese deposits on the ocean floor, Horn, D. R., ed., IDOE National Science Foundation, IWashington, D.C.. 1972, p. 31-49.

1 5

sequently, give no X-ray pattern. X-ray patterns that are obtained indicate crystalline sizes less than a few micrometers.
Due to the fine grain size of the iron and manganese oxides and the manner in which the nodules are formed, the porosity is high and the surface area is large. The high porosity allows the nodules to take up appreciable quantities of seawater and its contained salts. Due to their large active surface area, nodules have been reported to be effective converters of unburned hydrocarbons to carbon dioxide in automobile exhausts and efficient absorbers of sulfur from stack gases.2
There is no clear age pattern in the layers but nodule samples exhibit thicker layers on the bottom side. Radiometric dating of the nodules indicates very slow growth rates of 0.1 to 0.01 times the average sedimentation rate of one meter per million years in the deep regions of the ocean where manganese nodules are most commonly found.

The composition of manganese nodules can be described in two ways: the elemental composition and the mineralogy.


Chemical analyses of nodules from several locations in the Pacific Ocean are averaged in Table 2.


Element Average Maximum Minimum

Manganese ------------------------------------------------- 24.2 50.1 8.9
Iron ------------------------------------------------------- 14.0 26.6 2.4
Silicon ----------------------------------------------------- 9.4 20.1 1.3
Aluminum -------------------------------------------------- 2.9 6.9 .8
Sodium ---------------------------------------------------- 2.6 4.7 1.5
Calcium ---------------------------------------------------- 1.9 4.4 .8
Magnesium ------------------------------------------------- 1.7 2.4 1.0
Nickel ----------------------------------------------------- .99 2.0 .16
Potassium -------------------------------------------------- .8 3.1 .3
Titanium --------------------------------------------------- .67 1.7 .11
Co per ---------------------------------------------------- .53 1.6 .028
Cogalt ----------------------------------------------------- .35 2.3 .014
Barium ---------------------------------------------------- .18 .64 .08
Lead-: ----------------------------------------------------- .09 .36 .02
Strontium -------------------------------------------------- .081 .16 .024
Zirconium -------------------------------------------------- .063 .12 D09
Vanadium -------------------------------------------------- .054 .11 .021
Molybdenum ----------------------------------------------- .052 .15 .01
Zinc ------------------------------------------------------- .047 .08 .04
Boron ----------------------------------------------------- .029 .06 .007
Yttrium ---------------------------------------------------- .016 .045 .033
Lanthanum ------------------------------------------------- .016 .024 .009
Ytterbium -------------------------------------------------- .0031 .0066 .0013
Chromium -------------------------------------------------- .001 .007 .001
Gallium ---------------------------------------------------- .001 .003 .0002
Scandium -------------------------------------------------- .001 .003 .001
Silver ----------------------------------------------------- .0003 .0006 ---------------Note: In addition to the elements given above, cadmium, tin, arsenic, and bismuth are also found in manganese nodules.
Source: Cardwell, P. H. Extractive metallurgy of ocean nodules. Mining Congress Journal, November 1973, p. 38.

2Mero, J. L. Effects of mining sea floor nodules may be drastic for industry, society. The Northern Miner, Apr. 20,1972, pp. 4-5.


Nodules commonly contain more than 30 elements. In addition to the elements included in Table 2, there are also appreciable amounts of cadmium, tin, arsenic, and bismuth.

Petrographic examination of thin sections of nodules reveals extremely fine-grained manganese and iron oxides. The two major manganese minerals that have been identified are todorokite and birnessite. Todorokite is variable in its chemical composition and can contain sig-nificant amounts of other elements, while birnessite is more highly oxidized and is most abundant in more oxidizing environments such as shallower water areas.
The only iron mineral which has been recognized in ferromanganese nodules is goethite, FeOGH. Most of the other metals found in nodules appear to be taken up by the iron and manganese oxides either by substitution, absorption, or adsorption and do not form separate minerals.
In addition to the minerals formed in place, there are considerable amounts of detrital minerals within the nodules. These include quartz, feldspars, rutile, calcite, montmorillonite, illite, and barite. These minerals are also extremely fine-grained and usually are distributed throughout the entire nodule.

Several hypotheses on the formation of deep. seabed manganese nodules have been presented, proposing organic or inorganic processes. or a combination of both.

Recent evidence seems to favor a major role by living organisms in the creation of manganese nodules .3 'Small tubular structures have been found on the surface of carefully collected nodules. These fragile structures are built from microglobules of manganese by foraminifera and other bottom-dwelling organisms. Some tubes originally constructed on nodule surfaces are found buried or preserved with in the interior of nodules. The interior tube-remains are filled with clay or other debris and with manganese precipitated by inorganic or bacterial processes. In a sense, nodules may grow in much the same way as coral.
Other evidence has been found which indicates that magranese oxides can precipitate and accumulate onto a growing nodule without bacteria, but that bacterial enzymes accelerate the process through a catalytic role.4 Iron oxides and copper, nickel, and other metals probably precipitate inorganically, since they are known to adsorb strongly on manganese oxide. Manganese oxidizing bacteria have been found to promote the growth of nodules by manganese accretion, whereas
3 Greenslate, J. Microorganisms Participate in the Construction of Manganese Nodules. Nature v. 249. 1974: 181-183.
,'Ehrlich, H. L. The role of microbes in manganese nodule genesis and degradation. In Ferromangane*e Deposits on the Ocean 'Floor, Horn, D. R., ed., IDOE National Science Foundation, Washington, D.C., 1972: 63-70.


manganese-oxide-reducing bacteria cause dissolution of manganese, copper, cobalt, and nickel, but not iron from the nodules.
Earlier hypotheses favored inorganic formation of ferromanganese nodules. A recent genetic classification of ferromanganese deposits reviews these early theories and describes four types of deposits: (1) Hydrogenous deposits which are formed by slow precipitation of iron and manganese from "normal" sea water; (2) hydrothermal deposits in which the elements are supplied by hydrothermal activity on the sea floor, in areas of high heat flow frequently associated With- Volcanism;
(3) halmyrolytic deposits in which the elements are, at least in part, supplied by submarine weathering (halmyrolysis), generally of basaltic material; (4) diagenetic deposits in which the elements are supplied partly by their postdepositional redistribution within the sediment column.5
Another hypothesis of inorganic formation of manganese nodules is linked to data from the Deep Sea Drilling Project. This hypothesis proposes that hot intrusive rocks could have raised the temperature in overlying sediments thereby increasing the solubility of metals in interstitial water." This could cause leaching of metals out of sediments and outward migration of waters trapped in the sediment. When these warm interstitial waters with higher than normal tracemetal concentrations reach the more oxidizing interface with the overlying ocean water, rapid precipitation of manganese, iron, copper, and nickel would result.
The role of iron as the mechanism for manganese nodule formation is the basis of another hypothesis. Evidence has been found indicating colloidal iron oxides may deposit onto suitable nuclei in cavities under conditions of locally high acidity, followed by deposition of manganese oxides and trace metals by a catalytic process.7
In any event, the formation of manganese nodules is a poorly understood and complex process. It is likely that no single hypothesis fully expresses all the mechanisms involved, but portions or combinations of several of the hypotheses mentioned may be valid. Present evidence seems to indicate that the nodules can be formed in a variety of ways depending on local conditions.

Manganese nodules are found on the ocean floor in many areas of the world. Some world-wide oceanographic expeditions have recovered them at nearly every station. Although only about 3 percent of the ocean's floor has been extensively surveyed, there is abundant evidence indicating that deposits of manganese nodules exist in potentially commercial quantities. The advent of bottom photography and deep
5Bonatti, E., T. Kraemer, and H. Rydell. Classification and genesis of submarine ironmanganese deposits. In FerromanganeRe Deposits an the Ocean llnor. Horn, D. R. ed., IDOE, National Science Foundation, Washington, D.C., 1972: 149-16.
Raab, op. cit., p. 46.
7Burns, R. G., and B. A. Brown. Nucleation and mineralogical controls on the composition of manganese nodules. Ferromanganese Deposits on the Ocean Floor, Horn, D. R., ed., IDOE, National Science Foundation, Washington. D.C., 1972: 51-61.


water television has greatly increased the discovery of manganese nodule deposits. As more deposits have been found, more information has become available concerning the nature of the ocean floor where high concentrations are most likely to be found. In general, the nodules are found predominantly in areas of oxygen-rich water and low sedimentation. Areas of low sedimentation are generally in deep regions of the ocean, farthest from land and volcanic or high biological activity. Manganese nodules have also been discovered in Lake Michigan."
Since nodules are found mainly on the sediment surf ace, or partially buried, and form much more slowly than sediment accumulates, there is some uncertainty as to what prevents their burial. Some investigators suggest that deep sea predators feed on microorganisms living on the nodules and nudge. the nodules, keeping them on the surface. Others suggest that the microorganisms themselves keep the nodules buoyed up. The decrease of nodules with depth in the sediment (Fig. 2) may be explained by dissolution of the metal oxides after burial due to* the different geochemical environment of the subseafloor.
8 Rossman, R., and E. Callander. Manganese nodules In Lake Michigan. Science, v. 162, 1968, pp. 1123-1124.








FIGURE 2 When nodule frequency at the surface is compared with nodule frequency at depth in the sediment column, it is clear that most nodules occur at the sediment-water interface. For example, there are four times as many nodules at the surface as in the next 3 feet of underlying sediment in the North Pacific.

0 0 i I 4 30 36

Source: Horn, D. I B Horn, and M. N. Delach. Distribution of Ferromanganese Deposits in- the World 6cean. In Ferromanganese Deposits on the Ocean Floor, Horn, D. R., ed., IDO-U, Natioual Science Foundation, Washington, D.C., 1972, p. 13.


Although manganese nodules are common on the ocean floor, deposits of sufficiently high abundance and metallic content to be commercially attractive occur in relatively few known places. Commercial interests have collected and analyzed a great number of manganese nodules, but all publicly known information is based on approximately 600 samples.9 10 11 They are found mainly in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans.

00, 20, to, 4t0 too low 140 1W Now W4


o 00 4o

FIGURE 3 Ferromanganese deposits of the North Pacific are widespread. Limits are a function of increasing rates of deposition toward land and, in the south, by rapid accumulation of biogenic carbonate. The highest density of nodules lies between 6"30'N and 20"N.
;. .i p ", -%
0 0'10 40 too, 16y 104W 110, 100' o

SOCIETY ISLANDS _. 1=,=,= -, .
.4 U L

'0 .-_ __ -, -,
41 0 41

to00140. 140 140 W140'1011,to

Most ferromanganese deposits are concentrated along the line of topographic highs which includes the Manihiki Plateau; Line, Cook and Society Islands; and the Tuamotu Archipelago.

Source, Figs. 3 and 4: Horn et al., 1972, op. cit., p. 13.

"Horn, D. R., M. N. Delach, and B. M. Horn. Metal content of ferromanganese deposits of the oceans. IDOE Technical Report No. 3, NSF-GX 33616, National Science Foundation, Washington, D.C., 1973.
10 Horn, D. R., B. M. Horn, and M. N. Delach. Ocean manganese deposits, metal values and mining sites. IDOE Technical Report No. 4, NSF-GX 33616, National Science Foundation, Washington, D.C,. 1973.
n Frazier, J. Z., and G. Arrhentus. World-wide distribution of ferromanganese nodules and element concentration in selected Pacific Ocean nodules. IDOE Technical Report No. 2, NSF-GX 34659, National Science Foundation, Washington, D.C., 1972.

0 60, 40" 20* 0* .



40. ..40"


2o -lie 20;R ED CLAY _1111

O' O"
s0" 60. 40" 20 0*
Ferromanganese deposits of the North Atlantic. Both the Blake Plateau and Red Clay Provinces are sites of non-deposition or very low sediment accumulation. Cores and dredges from areas outside these provinces
which recovered ferromanganese are from the flanks and summits of topographic highs.

0 as

--- -0/



Distribution of ferromanganese deposits in the South Atlantic and Western Indian Oceans. The South American Province, and Cape, Mad agascar and Crozet Basins are areas protected from continental and biogenic debris. Rates of sedimentation are low and nodules are

Source, Figs. 5 and 6: Horn et al, 1972, op. Cit., p. 11.


The richest deposits of manganese nodules are found in the North Pacific Ocean in a narrow band south of Hawaii just north of the equatorial zone of high biological productivity (Fig. 3). This band is about 200 km wide by 1500 km long and runs roughly east-west between latitudes 6 N and 200 N and between longitudes 1100 W and 1800 W.

The ocean floor is 4000 to 5000 m deep in this area and the sediments are rich in siliceous remains of plankton (radiolaria). The floor of

the North Pacific where nodules occur can be divided into two types: siliceous ooze and red clay. The average metal values of nodules from the siliceous deposits are nickel (Ni) 1.28 percent, copper (Cu) 1.16


percent, manganese (Mn) 24.6 percent and cobalt (Co) 0.23 percent, while the nodules from the red clays contain Ni 0.76 percent, Cu 0.49 percent, Mn 18.2 percent and Co, 0.25 percent.
Region Nickel Copper Manganese Cobalt
North Pacific siliceous ooze --------------------------- 1.28 1.16 24.6 0.23
North Pacific red cl y -------------------------------- .76 .49 18.2 .25
South Pacific elevations ------------------------------ .41 .13 14.6 .78
South Pacific abyssal plain --------------------------- .51 .23 15.1 .34
North Atlantic -------------------------------------- .38 .15 14.2 .34
South Atlantic -------------------------------------- .48 .15 18.0 .31
Indian Ocean --------------------------------------- .50 .19 14.7 .28
Source: United Nations. Economic significance, in terms of seabed mineral resources, of the various limits proposed for national jurisdiction. Committee on the peaceful uses of the seabed and the ocean floor beyond the limits of national jurisdiction, A/AC.138/87, June 1973: 39 pages plus appendixes.
In the South Pacific many manganese nodule deposits are concentrated aloncr the southern edge of the equatorial belt and on or close
Zn Tuamotu Archito submarine elevations such as the Manihiki Plateau, pelago, Cook Islands, and Society Islands (Fig. 4). Although not as extensive as those in the North Pacific, there are several mine grade nodule deposits in the South Pacific and some have high cobalt content up to 2.3 percent. Average metal values for the South Pacific are given in Table 3.
In the North Atlantic nodules appear to be concentrated on the Blake Plateau (in water depths of about 1000 m) and in the red clay area 1800 km east of Florida (Fig. 5). Some encrustations occur on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. In general, the nodules have low metal content (Ni 0.18-0.32 percent, Cu 0.08-0.29 percent, Mn 13.9-14.5 percent, Co 0.35-0.42 percent) and some have high density or include substantial quantities of carbonate material unfavorable for metallurgical processing.
Thick crusts and nodule deposits occur in some areas of the South Atlantic. However, the deposits are generally below commercial interest in metal content. One of the more extensive areas of manganese nodules and crusts in the South Atlantic is off the west coast and southward of South Africa (Fig. 6). The deposits in this area average
0.67 percent nickel and 0.16 percent copper.

Several areas of nodules and crusts are reported iin the Indian Ocean, such as the Azulhas Plateau, the Madagascar Basin, and the Crozet Basin (Fig. 6 These deposits generally have metal contents below commercial interest though some potentially minable deposits are alleged by industry sources to have been discovered in the Indian Ocean.12
12 United Nations A/AC. 138/87, op. oft., p. 22.

Geophysical and topographic data are necessary before a mining site can be selected (Fig. 7). The method of mining will determine, to a limited extent, the water depth and bottom conditions necessary for the mining system to work. For example, a nodule-collecting device mounted on a tracked vehicle must operate on a firmer bottom than that needed for a neutrally buoyant rake-type collection head. Both of these methods can probably operate in an area of greater topographic variation than the continuous line bucket (CLB) dredge.
About 25 factors are involved in calculations to determine the economic value of a ferromanganese nodule depositt' In addition to the water depth, bottom topography, and physical characteristics of the sediment, other important criteria are the concentration of the nodules, their size, uniformity, metal content, distance to port or process facility, and weather in the deposit area. Since the nodule con-centration per unit area of the sea floor and their metal Content may vary within a prospective mine site, the site must be thoroughly sampled to ensure it can support a mining operation. Free-fall grab samplers, dredges, and television cameras are commonly used to evaluate the economic potential of a mining area (Fig. 7).
1Mero, J. L. Potenial economic value of ocean-floor manganese nodule deposits. In Ferromanganese Deposits on the Ocean Floor, Horn, D. R., ed., IDOE, National Science Foundation, Washington, D.C., 1972: 191-203.


Offshore Exploration of Ores
Ne~te~ol Ooai~gru0ic urve ofLocakzabon
of launched
"Cs.- C- ~ .' ~ Survey Gau96e

04 nfl
Ref orI

12 -lota


FIGURE 7.--Offshore exploration of nodules.
Source: United Nations, Economic Implications of sea-bed mineral development in the international area: report of the Secretary-General, A/CONF.62/25, May 22, 1974, p. 13.
Major changes in the metals market will affect the selection of a mine site, either making lower grade nodules profitable or confining mining operations to only the highest grade deposits. The type of metals recovery process used or the metals market the company desires to enter will feed back into site selection. For example, a company may wish to market cobalt, copper, nickel, and manganese while another company may be interested in extracting and marketing only cobalt, copper, and nickel. These considerations will affect the size of the mining operation necessary, desired metal values of the nodules, and, hence, the site selection.
The efficiency of the mning system will also play a role in determining the minimum size economically feasible as a mining site. As yet there are no hard data on recovery efficiency. The total amount of ore mined from workable or accessible areas of a mine site depends on the pick-up efficiency of the collecting device and the mine sweeping efficiency or ratio of area actually swept by the bottom device to the area accessible for mining. Limited experience indicates that the dredge head pick-up efficiency is somewhere between 30 percent and 70 percent,


probably around 50 percent. The mine sweeping efficiency is a function of the characteristics of the mining equipment, navigational system, and operation procedures. Sweep efficiency may be around 45 to 65 percent. Two other factors to consider are unminable areas (about 15 to 25 percent of the bottom appears to be too rough or otherwise physically unsuitable for mining) and cut-off grade (about 10 percent of the site is expected to contain nodules of too low grade to be mined). The most unfavorable combination of factors (accessibility, dredge efficiency, sweep efficiency, and cut-off grade may allow only 9 percent of the nodules in an area to be recovered. An optimistic combination is likely to allow 35 percent recovery and a completely ideal combination could yield 58 percent recovery. A working average for nodule recovery efficiency expected by industry is around 25 percent or higher. The production period for the venture to be profitable and the overall mining efficiency determine the minimum site size. Production periods of twenty years have generally been assumed. Greater efficiency would permit a smaller mine site to be commercial as would a shorter production period, if acceptable.
Some experts believe that exploration for potential mine sites over a broad area may become more restricted or difficult if an international regime is established to regulate the seabed. However, most of the major groups involved in ferromanganese nodule mining investigations have completed the exploration stage and are aware of a number of potential mining sites.2

Once a mining site has been selected the next problem is to collect and elevate the nodules to the surface from depths of 3000 to 5000 meters. Mining methods must be highly reliable and must recover volumes large enough to be economic. Three basic systems have bee) devised: (1) Air-lift, (2) hydraulic lift without air, and (3) mechanical lift such as the continuous line bucket (CLB) system. Each of these basic methods has individual variations. In addition to these continuous recovery methods, batch systems such as wireline dredging and buoyant hoppers have also been proposed.3 However, while singlecollector dredging is useful for obtaining large toniage samples for evaluation, it is not considered an economic large-scale production system due to its high cost and low recovery rate when- used at great depths.4

The air-lift pumping (ALP) or pneumatic lift method is technically a three-phase flow: air, water, and nodules. Compressed air is injected into the pipe at various depths. The upward movement draws water, nodules, and surrounding sediment into the bottom end of the pipe. The nodules are literally vacuumed off the seabed and carried up
2 Rothstein, A. J., and R. Kaufman. The approaching maturity of deep ocean mlnng the pace quickens. Offshore Technology Conference Preprints 197., v. 1, 1973, pp. 323344.
8 Wenzel, J. C. Systerns-development planning. In Ocean Engineering, Brahtz, J. F.. ed., Wiley, New York, 191)8, p. 110.
'United Nations, A/CONF.62/2'5, op. cit., p. 17.


the pipe by the flow of water and air and deposited in the mining ship on the surface (Fig. 8). The ALP system is inherently more complex than a single or dual phase system. Several technical difficulties have presented themselves. The amount and injection point of air, diameter of pipe, amount of water transported, and amount and size of solids transported each have narrow tolerance limits. For this reason, the system must be carefully adjusted to the conditions of each individual mining site.



Cap~u otin q

vA j,_ yj / / x L et..
WC C al'l r

r'Nodki Mnng by As" System


FIGURE 8.-Artist's conception of the likely operation of three systems proposed for mining nodules.
Source: United Nations, A/CONF.62/25 op. cit, p. 18. The bottom device or dredge head must be carefully designed to screen out nodules that are too large to be transported by the air/ water stream or might clog the pipe. Generally, a rake type device is used to both loosen and screen the nodules. Deepsea Ventures has devel-


oped and successfully tested this system on the Blake Plateau in 750 meters of water in 1970.5 In the Deepsea Ventures system the dredge head is towed across the bottom by the mining ship. Modifications of this method may involve a self-propelled bottom device such as a tracked crawler or a stationary unit with a rotating arm.67


-U. 9.-Research Vessel Deepsea Miner. A converted general cargo ship

displacing 7,500 tons full load with an overall length of 320 feet. The major hull modification was the installation of a 20 foot by 30 foot long well (Moon Pool) slightly aft of midship. A 5 ioot high derrick was installed to handle
several thousand feet of 9%/8" drill casing.
Photo by B. J. Nixon, Deepsea Ventures, Inc.

The efficiency of the air-lift system is not completely known. Since nodules larger than the system can support must be rejected, the efficiency on that basis alone would be lower than total size range recovery systems. The large factors of uncertainty, however, are how efficiently the dredge head can interact with the bottom and how tight a pattern of traversing the mine site the mine ship can accomplish.

5 Covey, C. W. Ocean mining system completes tests. Under Sea Technology, October 1970, p. 22-23, 28.
6 Sheary. G. W., and J. E. Steele. Mechanical deep sea nodule harvester. United States Patent 3,480,326, November 1969.
7 Smith, NV. J. An assessment of deep-sea manganese nodule exploitation technology. Unpublished manuscript, Woods Hole Oceanographic Inst., 1972.

65-675 0 76 3


From a resource management point of view, it would -be desirable for the site to be mined as efficient-ly -as possible to Inimize the area of disturbance.
From a reliability point of view, although the ALP system must supply great amounts of compressed air to various water depths, there are no underwater pumps and other machinery to break down. However, the ALP system is more complex in concept than a CLB system which doesn't have a long pipe string to handle, and the bucket system is more flexible in the ability to cope with a variety of bottom conditions.
The hydraulic or hydrolift system is similar to the ALP, but it relies entirely on pumped water to provide upward flow through the pipe. This is technically a two-phase system: nodules and water. The technology for this system is already well developed and is used in the coal ,i ndustry and in mud pumps used in oil drilling. The pump can be located close to the bottom or at intermediate depth. The hydraulic system seems to be favored by a recently formed international consortium managed by Kennecott Copper Corp.8 9

The third major recovery method, the continuous line bucket (CLB) system, appears to be the simplest in principle. This system uses a continuous polypropelene braided rope with dredge buckets attached at 25 to 50 meter intervals. The rope is wound through traction motors mounted at both forward and aft ends of the mining vessel. Because the rope line is neutrally bouyant, it tends to loop out away from the direction of motion of the mining ship (Fig. 10). As the line rotates the bottom of the loop drags across the seabed filling the buckets. The drag and increased weight of the buckets causes the loop to become more directly aligned with the lifting force. Consequently, the line moves upward more nearly'vertically than its descent, and fouling of the loop upon itself is avoided.
8 Tinsley, C. R. In search for commercial nodules, odds look best In Miocene-age Pacific Tertiary System. Engineering and Mining Journal, June 1973, p. 114-116.
*Oceanography Newsletter, v. 9, No. 3, Feb. 1974, pp. 1-2.


Motion of
----Sea Level

Plan View Front View
Scale: I"= 4500' I"= 3000'

Dredge Dredge
Cable ? Cable "

U Lmi ts
Per Cut? Side View
Pe C individual S
B u c" uket Scale: "=3000

,-.. 7.4: Unmined
/. Area
Only Buckets
Mined """" Near Ocean.
Out Area .a:' Floor Shown

Sea Floor

Cable Diameter and Buckets Not Drawn To Scale

FIGURE 10.-Schematic drawing Illustrating the design and operation of the Continuous Line Bucket System for mining deep ocean nodule deposits as proposed by Yoshio Masuda. A successful pilot test of this system was conducted in over 12,000 ft. (3,650 m) of water north of Tahiti in the summer of 1970. Source: Mero, op. cit., p. 199.

The CLB system is the method in which there is the greatest amount of international participation. One of the largest ventures formed is a mining consortium called the CLB Group.'0 The CLB Group is a joint systems development effort involving more than 25 major companies in six countries and is managed by Dr. John L. Mero, president of Ocean Resources, Inc. of La Jolla, California. This consortium only intends to develop and test jointly the CLB system, then split up for commercial operations.

10 Oceanography Newletter, v. 9, No. 12, June 24, 1974, pp. 1-2.

Th 'B/LB system was successfully tested in 3,650 meters of water north of Tahiti in August 1970."1 A later test in August and September 1972 recovered seven tons of nodules off Hawaii.' Several participants of the CLB consortium under the leadership of ONEXO of France are developing a modification of the CLB which involves the use of two ships working in tandem.'3 Members of the CLB Group met in Houston in May 1974 to plan financing and construction of a two-ship system which is expected to be ready for testing in 1975-76. The system will be built in France by Ateliers, et Chantiers de Bretagne. 1
The primary advantage of the CLB system over the other two techniques is simplicity and perhaps cost. The latter advantage has been strenuously disputed.'5 It also has the advantage of being able to recover nodules of any size and does not need to be designed for a specific depth and type of sediment as do hydraulic and air-lift systems. Difficulties with the CLB system may result from irregular bottom topography and potential snags. The buckets must also pick up a good load of nodules and little sediment for the system to be economic, and there is no way to control how the buckets interact with the bottom. Critics also -claim the system cannot be cycled rapidly enough to recover a profitable tonnage of nodules.'6
Mining efficiency of this system again can only be estimated. The area mined is controlled by maneuvering the surface mining ship or ships; consequently, bottom coverage and nodule recovery may be somewhat inefficient.

Because of the mineralogy of ferromanganese nodules is unlike that of any commercially mined land-based mineral deposit, straightforward methods of extracting metals do not work. The manganese oxide and iron oxide minerals that are the main constituents of the nodules are extremely fine-grained and are bound in a rock (siliceous) matrix. Most of the other metals of interest are present in the nodules
essentially as impurities in the iron and manganese oxides. Consequently, physical methods of separating the metals have not proved successful. Although it is possible to reduce the oxides by smelting, the resultant alloy of iron and other metals is difficult to separate further. Generally, chemical leaching or hydrometallurgical techniques are considered the most likely commercial methods. Details of most of these methods are regarded as proprietary information by the companies developing them. From information available, general descriptions of some of these extraction methods or metal winning processes can be derived.
u Masuda, Y., M. J. Cruickshank, and 3. L. Mero. 'Continuous bucketline dredging at 12,000 feet. Offshore Technology Conference, Preprints Paper No. 1410, 1971.
12Mnn Magazine, January 1973, p. 7.
13 United Nations, A/CONF.62/25, op. oft., p. 19.
14 CNEXO, Bulletin d'In formation, No. 61, January 1974. p. 5.
is Hamrnond, A. L., Maganese Nodules (II) : Prospects for Deep Sea Mining, Soience, v. 183, Feb. 15, 1974, pp. 644-646.
'sIbid., p. 644.

The first step in virtually all extraction techniques involves crushing the nodules. NXickel and copper are relatively easy to separate by chemical methods as these metals are associated with the mangranese oxides. Leaching solutions can be developed to concentrate these motals and leave most of the others behind. Cobalt is found mostly with the iron minerals.17 Removing cobalt and other metals requires additional steps. The leaching method is carefully designed to optimize the. yie-ld of the particular metals which a company wishes to market (Table 4).
output Esti mated
(millions of price (per Gross value Percent of pounds) pound) (millions) gross value
Manganese I---------------------------------------------- 500.0 $0.15 $75.0 58.8
Nickel ----------------------------------------- 25.0 1.40 35.0 27.5
Co per----------------------------------------- 20.0 .56 11.2 8.8
M at-------- ----------- ------ -4.4 1.40 6.2 4.9
Total ------------------------------------------------------------- 127.4 100.0
Nickel ----------------------------------------- 75.0 $1.40 $105.0 66.8
Crpper----------------------------------------- 60.0 .56 33.6 21.4
Cobalt ----------------------------------------- 13.2 1.40 18.5 11.8
Total ------------------------------------------------------------- 157. 1 100.0
I Assumes that high-purity manganese will be marketed rather than ferromanganese. Source: Chemnical anid Engineering news. Mar. 4, 19704, p. 25.

One leaching method being developed is the hydrogen chloride process of Deepsea Ventures. In this method hydrogen chloride reacts with the crushed nodules at elevated temperatures to dissolve essentially all the nodule material. Most of the metals except iron form soluble metal chlorides which are then leached with water and separated f rom, the solid residue. The solid residue containing inert silicates, sulfates, and oxides (mainly iron oxides) is regarded as waste. Chlorine gas is recovered as a by product and hydrogen- chloride can be recovered from the leach liquor and recycled (Fig. 11).
iIbid., p. 646.


Wet nodules Fig. 11 Hydrochloric acid process
Countercurrent leaching

Ferric chloride removal F Fuel

decomposition HCl vapor
Mn iH20 A makeup

Cu, Ni, Co J _er
NH3 Copper recovery A1203

II '4===''I let rwinnig Copper>


Source: Sisselman, R. Ocean Miners take soundings on Legal Problems, Development Alternatives, Engineering -and Mining Journal, April 1975, p. 86. Copyright 1975, Engineering and Mining Journal, 1221 Avenue of the Americas, New York, N.Y. 10020.
A proprietary ion exchange process extracts each metal into a separate solution from which it is plated out in an electrolytic cell. Since manganese cannot be recovered electrolytically, another proprietary method is used for this metal.
The metals initially slated for recovery by this method are cobalt, copper, nickel, and manganese. Recovery of other metals such as molybdenum, vanadium, zinc, and cadmium is being considered should market conditions make their production profitable. This apparently is the only process being considered commercially that would produce high-purity manganese from the nodules.
Advantages of this method are the high recovery rate of the metal content of the ore (better than 95 percent) and the low potential for pollution problems (the solvents are recycled).
A second process, suitable for production of manganese in the form of ferromanganese, is the sulfur dioxide (SO2) roasting method developed by the U.S. Bureau of Mines. The basis of this method is to get the ore in the form of soluble sulfates by roasting in an atmosphere of SO2 and air, followed by leaching in water. Copper is precipitated out directly using metallic iron, while nickel and cobalt are recovered by an autoclaving technique. Further purification of the nickel and cobalt


sulfates is necessary before conversion to metallic form. The remaining manganese sulfates can then be processed further to yield ferromanganese.
The entire process is rather involved and exacting, but its overall complexity may be no greater than other methods. Companies that have sulfur dioxide to dispose of (as from copper smelters) may find this method attractive.
Among the disadvantages are that the sulfate system is difficult to operate as a closed cycle and it is reported that 45 percent of the sulfur used is not recovered.' This may present a pollution problem. However, disposal of the unrecovered sulfate ion may be easier than sulfur dioxide if the latter were a disposal problem initially as in the case of smelter gas.
A third process, whereby only the associated metals of nickel, copper, cobalt, and molybdenum are recovered from the nodules, involves the use of ainmoniacal solutions (ammonia plus an ammonium salt such as a carbonate, chloride, or sulfate). In order to dissolve the metals using ammoniacal solutions, the oxides must first be reduced (Fig. 12). This is accomplished by roasting with a gaseous reducing agent such as carbon monoxide or hydrogen. Elevated temperatures and pressures are used to improve the metal recovery from the reduction and leaching operation. This process is reported to recover 85 percent or better of the copper, nickel, cobalt, and molybdenum leaving the manganese and iron essentially intact.'19

noe Fig. 12 Ammonia leach process
F Fuel Reduction

Drying Leaching and washing

F elWashsoluio n a

SouCe: pe riovear p i. .8. oyih 95 Engineeding dMnn o

~ Carwellop. itCop.p41


Kennecott has obtained a number of patents for ammoniacal leaching methods. This process is similar to one used to extract nickel from laterite ores and is believed to be the process favored by Kennecott for commercial use in nodule processing.
Several investigators have tried leaching ferromanganese nodules in sulfuric acid under various conditions of time, temperature, and acidity (Fig. 13). The basis of this method is that individual metals exhibit differing degrees of solubility under varying conditions of acidity. The problems mainly involve a trade-off between the efficiency of extraction and the amount of unwanted material extracted or selectivity of extraction. In general, the method is not regarded as being selective enough for commercial operations. Copper, nickel, and cobalt are readily dissolved, but appreciable amounts of manganese and iron along with several trace metals are also leached. This leads to problems in further separation. An additional disadvantage is the large amount of acid consumed, about ten times that equivalent to the dissolved metals. Presumably this is due to the large amount of basic material trapped within the nodules.20 Furthermore, if a closed loop system is devised, the concentration of trace metals will build up in the leach liquor making purification of the economic metals more difficult.

Wet nodules Fig. 23 Sulphuric acid process
= Pressure leaching

HSP steamW
Leaching H20 Washing Wash water
1221Aveuer aNe N. 1Limestone
i pTa4lings ~disposal
Coppe Copper (6 stages)
3 electrowinning>

Steam I Am mn suphte
sulphate 1975, Eniern an MnigJornl

Source: Sisselman, R. op. cit., P. 85. Coprgt97,ngeei/adM# ornl
1221 Avenue of the Americas, New York, N. 10020.

20 Ibid. p. 41.


Although this method is a standard technique of land-based mining operations, it does not appear to be of commercial interest for processing ferromanganese nodules. The problem again is one of selectivity. Manganese nodules contain numerous metals which smelting reduces to a complex alloy. Still, investigations of this method for processing ferromanganese nodules have been made.21
In the pyrometallurgical approach, the objective is to reduce selectively and collect the nickel, copper, cobalt, and molybdenum in a metallic product while rejecting a major part of the manganese and iron in the slag. By regulating the temperature and amount of carbon introduced, it is possible to control the distribution of manganese between the molten iron phase and the slag. However, while the metallic phase is nearly free of mangranese, it contains an appreciable amount of iron from which it is 'difficult to separate the marketable metals. The manganese slag could be processed further into a ferromanganese product. This Dvrometallurgical approach may be of interest only if an existing "smelter were available, but it is not likely to attract new capital.22
=Ibid. pp. 39-40.
22 Ibid. p. 40.

As every action man undertakes has an environmental impact, the mining of ferromanganese nodules will have some effect on the environment of the ocean floor as well as on the entire water column through which the mining system passes. The need to define better the magnitude of this impact has been a concern raised by many. Research to date indicates that the environmental impact of deep seabed mining may be negligible.
Piu~vious RESEARCHa
Several investigations have been conducted to determine the extent of the environmental impact of manganese nodule mining. At the invitation of Deepsea Ventures, Inc., in the summer of 1970 a group of marine scientists under the direction of Dr. Oswald A. Roels of the Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory observed a pilot ALP mining test on the Blake Plateau in the Atlantic. In this test, studies were made on the mixing of the bottom water discharged into the surface waters and its effect on dissolved oxygen concentration and phytoplankton growth. No significant effects were found. In Jul 1972, a cruise aboard the R/V Robert D. Conrad was undertaken todetermmie the physical, chemical, and biological baseline conditions in a manganese nodule province on the Bermuda Rise. The bottom dwelling fauna were found to be very sparse in this area. In August and September 1972, investigators under support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) monitored a test of the CLB mining system in a siliceous ooze province in the North Pacific. Physical, chemical, and biological conditions of the water column were observed and bottom dwelling fauna were sampled before, during, and after the mining operation. In addition, cores and photographs were taken of the bottom. The investigators found the effects and disturbances of the mining operation were very minor.

Deep sea mining may generate several specific problems such as repopulation, transplantation, surface water contamination, and pollution from shipboard processing. These problems have been investigated and although apparently minor, monitoring would be desirable during commercial operations.

The ability of bottom organisms to repopulate a mined area will affect the extent and duration of the environmental impact. No data on this have been obtained although the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is actively engaged in a limited research


program to determine the environmental impact of deep sea mining. 11 2
In addition to damage of organisms in the mining path, bottom sediments stirred up bj the mining operation may clog or smother benthic (bottom dwelling) organisms over a much wider area than that which is actually mined. This could make the reestablishment of the bottom ecosystem even more difficult. Depending on the magnitude of the sediment stirring problem, proposed unmined buffer zones for repopulation purposes may be ineffective unless made very wide. However, it is not likely that entire species will be destroyed by mining operations as the present techniques are not 100 percent efficient in bottom coverage.
Another possible consequence of the suspension of lifted sediments in the water column is the transplantation of spores or other dormant forms of microorganisms from one area, where they lay in the sediment, to another, where they may be reactivated under favorable temperature, light, and oxygen conditions in the overlying water column. However, it has also- been argued that the redistribution of sediments on the ocean floor from natural causes exceeds by several orders of magnitude any disturbance ever likely to be caused by deep sea mining.3
The introduction of bottom water and material into the upper water layers is a complex problem and may prove either beneficial or deleterious. Introduction of sediments and bottom material into the surface waters may increase trace-metal concentrations by leaching of nodules or sediments, which could inhibit photosynthesis or allow the accumulation of different trace metals within marine food chains. However, nodule material is not very likely to dissolve in the upper water layers. The oxide surfaces represent such effective adsorbents that trace metals are unlikely to be leached in large quantities, even though they are present at concentrations many times I those in seawater. Some silicious material brought up as sediment could be expected to dissolve slightly increasing the silica (SiO,) content of the surface water.
A likely effect on the surface water will be an increase in photosynthetic activity and productivity resulting from the high nutrient concentration of the bottom water. The extent of this effect will be determined by the concentration of nutrients introduced into the surface water and the amount of time that this nutrient-rich water remains in the euphotic zone. A phytoplankton bloom should be beneficial if a food chain develops to consume it, otherwise decaying plankton may cause partial fouling of the water. However, because organic particulate material will oxidize slowly as it falls through the water column, the resultant decrease in oxygen concentration probably will be very small and may not cause any significant fouling. Oxidation of organic material discharged in the mining effluent as a
1 Ocean Science News. v. 16, No. 19. May 10, 1974, p. 2-3.
2 U.S. Department of Commerce. The environmental Impact of deep-sea mining, progress report. NOAA Technical Report ERL 290-OD 11, Boulder. Colo., 1973: 1F.5 p.
3 U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. Subcommittee on Mlneralq. Materials and Fuels. Hearings. 93d Congress, 2d session on Amendment No. 946 to S. 1134. Mar. 5, 6, and 11, 1974. Part 2, Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1974. pp. 1091-1092.


result of the destruction of benthos (deep sea plant or animal organisms) will also reduce oxygen in the water. On the other hand, nutrient stimulated photosynthesis will increase the oxygen concentration. Perhaps a more serious effect is that discharged particulate material will produce turbidity in the euphotic zone cutting down light intensity and reducing photosynthetic activity.

Another environmental consideration would be the potential impact of the discharge of wastes or residues from possible shipboard preliminary processing of nodules. If any such methods aT-e developed that are not self contained, wastes or residues could produce a severe strain on the ecosystem in the mining area. However, most major concerns involved in the development of manganese nodules have determined that at least for first generation plants, economical processing can be accomplished only ashore. The principal reasons for this are that the reagent transportation costs will be equal to, or greater than the nodule costs, and problems of waste disposal and environmental protection will be much greater at sea than on land.

Although several different mining systems are proposed, some common effects can be expected and some impacts are unique to each system. Among the common impacts are:
(1) the destruction of the benthic (bottom dwelling) organisms
and their habitats in the path of the mining operation;
(2) stirring up sedimentary material as the mining implement
sweeps the ocean floor; and
(3). introduction of sedimentary material, associated bottom
organisms, and bottom water into various layers of the water
column, including, in some cases, the surface water.
The extent of each of these impacts depends on the mining technique used. Both the air-lift pumping (ALP) and hydro-lift systems transport nodules, sediment, benthos and deep water to the surface. In these processes abrasion produces quantities of fine nodule material and macerated organic material. Except for the nodules, all these materials are discharged into the ocean surface water where they may remain in suspension or sink depending on their physical conditions. 'The continuouis-line bucket system is designed to bring only nodules to the surface; however, in practice some benthos and sediment may be entrapped and distributed throughout the water column. This system will introduce more sediment into the lower water column but less material into the surface water than the ALP or hydro-lift systems. In addition to environmental concerns, stirred sediment is also a mining problem. It may obscure the bottom or cover the nodules making recovery difficult.

In reporting on preliminary investigations, including monitoring an ALP mining system on the Blake Plateau in the Atlantic and a CLB system in the silicious ooze province in the North Pacific, the NOAA report concluded, "In this Preliminary work, no definite effects


of mining have been observed, tentatively suggesting that mining disturbances were. not great."14 This assessment was based on numerous analyses of the physical, chemical, and biological conditions of the overlying water column before, during and after the mining operations and several cores and pictures of the sea floor. NOAA recommended further research should:
(1) establish physical, chemical, and biological baseline environmental conditions in potential mining areas;
(2) document changes induced in benthic and pelagic ecosystems by deep-sea mining;
(3) formulate guidelines for future mining operations which
will minimize harmful environmental effects while enhancing the
development of potentially beneficial byproducts; and
(4) determine the properties which should be monitored during
deep-sea mining to provide the information needed to evaluate the environmental impact of specific mining methods and to devise
mitigating measures, if necessary.5
In early May 1974, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the Commerce Department announced the establishment of a Deep Ocean Mining Environmental Study (DOMES) based at the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle.6 Under funding of $3 million for fiscal year 1976, DOMES began a threemonth environmental study in the tropical Pacific with more than 30 scientists from NOAA, the Geological Survey, and several universities aboard the NOAA ship Oceanographer. An advisory panel has been authorized to review DOMES activities to ensure their relevance to industry, environmental interest groups, and other government agencies. One reason given for placing immediate emphasis on environmental studies is that 'if commercial mining is expected to start by 1980, corporate decisions on mining equipment design and production techniques should have been in the final stages by mid-1975.7
In September 11975, the Office of Marine Minerals (00MM) was established in NOAA to plan and coordinate NOAA's expanded marine mining activities. The DOMES effort and $750,000 in Sea Grants in fiscal year 1976 were identified as programs with which the new office will be co-ncerned. Onshore impacts from activities such -as nodule processing will also be studied.

By way of comparison with present ores, manganese nodules do not contain sulfur; therefore, there will be no waste disposal problems of sulfur salts, acids, or gases. However, other materials used in processing may present disposal problems depending on the metallurgical process developed.
Nodule mining could provide the entire world population for hundreds of years with a sufficient supply of many metals. To equal this
resrvebyland mining would require the exploitation of many new areas including mining low grade deposits which are not now commercial. It is possible that in the future these areas may need to be used or preserved for other purposes.
U.S. Department of Commerce, op. oft. p. 105.
iYbid. p. I161.
6 ean Science News, op. cit., P. 2-411.
ibidz., P. S.

Although many companies individually began exploration and development of mining systems for deep seabed ferromanganese nodules, the recent trend has been to band together into national or international consortia. The major mining interests and consortia currently involved in nodule recovery are summarized in the following categories: (1) U.S. interests, (2) international consortia, and (3) foreign interests.

One of the early entries into deep ocean mining was Deepsea Ventures, Inc., a subsidiary of Tenneco Inc. Deepsea Ventures was organized in 1968 by Tenneco to further an ocean mining project which had been previously under development for six years by another Tenneco subsidiary, Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company. Deepsea Ventures has operated two mining research vessels, the 150-foot R/V Prospector and the 320-foot R/V Deepsea Miner. Their mining technique and ore processing involve an air-lift recovery system and hydrometallurgical extraction of manganese in addition to copper, cobalt, and nickel. In May 1974, Tenneco formed a consortium of Deepsea Ventures with three Japanese firms. In November 1974, the consortium was joined by United States Steel Corp. and Union Miniere of Belgium.' This development will be discussed in the next section under consortia. On November 14, 1974 Deepsea Ventures became the first company to file a claim for mining rights on the deep seabed. This claim is not officially recognized by the U.S. Department of State.
Another early entry into the field of seabed mining was Kennecott Copper Corp. This firm began research into nodule deposits, mining, and processing in 1962. It has developed nodule recovery techniques based on hydraulic methods and carried out research on hydrometallurgical processes of metal extraction, some involving liquid ion exchange. In 1973 Kennecott operated a pilot plant in Lexington, Massachusetts, which processed half a ton of ore per day. This process did not recover manganese or trace metals. On January 29, 1974, Kennecott announced the formation of an international consortium with firms from Japan, Great Britain, and Canada.
Among the other U.S. companies to have developed an interest in deep ocean mining are Union Carbide Exploration Corp. However, Union Carbide is reported to have dropped its nodule mining pro1Ocen Science News. Nov. 15, 1974, p. 4.

gram.2 Founded in 1965, Ocean Resources Inc. has worked with Japanese, European, and Canadian firms to develop a CLB mining system. In 1968 and 1970 Ocean Resources conducted cruises for exploration of nodule deposits and development of a CLB system with the Japan Ocean Resources Association. In 1971 Ocean Resources organized a consortium to test a CLB system. More recently, Ocean Resources organized a 25-member consortium from six countries to develop and production-test CLB systems. Other U.S. firms represented in this consortium include Ethyl Corp., Occidental Minerals, PhelpsDodge, N.L. Industries, Superior Oil, Utah International, United States Steel, General Crude Oil, and Atlantic Richfield Oil. Bethlehem Steel is also reported to have an interest in nodule mining.3 Battelle Memorial Institute is reported to be conducting research on nodule processing.4
Another U.S. firm with a generally unadvertised hut long standing interest in deep seabed mining is Lockheed Missiles and 'Space Co., Inc. In November 1975, Lockheed publicly announced -that it had been developing a nodule mining system and processing technology for over 10 years. However, Lockheed stated it cannot proceed alone to the expensive ocean testing phase.
In view of recent events, a U.S. firm that bears special mention with regard to the development of deep sea mining technology is the Summa Corporation owned by the billionaire recluse Howard Hughes. In 1968, a Russian diesel-powered submarine carrying torpedos and missiles armed with nuclear warheads sank about 750 miles northwest of Hawaii. The ship broke up as it sank to the ocean floor at a depth of 16,000 feet. Evidently, the Russian navy did not know the exact location of the mishap although U.S. listening devices had pinpointed the ship's location with accuracy.5 The U.S. Navy and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) recognized this as a rare opportunity to gain valuable information about Soviet codes and nuclear capabilities. However, the means of retrieving the remains of the submarine were lacking. The CIA apparently provided the incentive for Howard Hughes to build the 618-foot, 36,000-ton Glomar Explorer, which was widelyadvertised as a deep seabed mining ship, with recovery of the submarine in mind. In any event, deep seabed mining made a good cover for the secret activities of the CIA to recover the submarine. Consequently, the CIA became the owner and primary impetus for the development of the specialized deep sea recovery technology through Summa Corporation, beginning about 1970.
The normal secrecy of the Hughes operations contributed to the complete success of the cover story resulting in numerous accounts such as, "Howard Hughes may have manganese nodules on the deck of his deep-ocean mining ship, the Glomar Explorer, by mid-1974."
2 Mineral Resources of the Deep Seabed, Part 2. op. cit., p. 1081.
3 Oceanography Newsletter, v. 9. No. 12. June 24, 1974, p. 1.
4 Flipse, J. E. Ocean Mining Stifled by lack of U.S. and U.N. Action. Sea Technology, January 1974, p. 33.
5 Washington Post. Mar. 23, 1975, p. Al and A7.
6 Tinsley, C. R. Mining of Manganese Nodules: an Intriguing Legal Problem. Engineering/Mining Journal, October 1973, p. 84.


Other accounts were also speculative or else described design features of the ship or equipment that could not be concealed.7 8
The cover story not oniy deceived the news media and mining community but also had an effect on the Law of the Sea negotiations on exploitation of deep seabed resources. It was reported that the activities of the Summa Corporation mining ships were a frequent topic in the corridors in Caracas.9 Others have been led to speculate, "Hopef ully, the first benefit of the Hughes venture will be to catalyze action on some settlement of the question of manganese nodules and the law."'"I However, now that the covert activities of Hughes are known there is a suspicious reaction to the question of all ocean research. Christopher W. Pinto of Sri Lanka observed at the Geneva session of the Law of the Sea Conference: "The developing countries have been arguing on the basis that espionage is the real reason why the major powers seek complete freedom for scientific research. Now that this is confirmed, they can be more forceful." 11
This all began in 1970 when the Summa Corporation contracted t*with Lockheed Missiles and Space Co. and Global Marine, Inc., who have extensive experience in undersea technology and deep sea drilling techniques to design a recovery system. The fact that Global Marine has a patent for a deep seabed nodule mining system filed as early as December 1966, that appears to be compatible with the ship and barge system actually constructed, would suggest that the basic technology developed for retrieval of the submarine, if not originally intended for nodule mining, could readily be transferred to nodule mining. The claw arrangement described in the press for grappling the submarine 12 could be replaced by the mining head described in patent 3,433,531 issued to Global Marine in March 1969 (Fig. 14). The apparatus described in the patent consists of a long rotatingc boom on a fixed base which could sweep out a large area before being repositioned. If crushing is employed in the base unit, nodules of any size could be collected and transported up the pipe string by an air-lift pump. This method would cover a mine site relatively effciently and avoid the difficulty of other systems of towing a dredge head over the bottom without undue stress on the pipeline. Although a barge is mentioned in the patent, the one constructed was designed mainly to meet the needs of the CIA. Another connection to deep sea mining came when Lockheed recently publicly stated that it has been active for over 10 years in developing nodule mining -and processing technology and that it, has tested a mining system on land but has not yet proceeded to sea trials. Lockheed is -now looking for partners and financing before going much further.
There is little doubt that the Clomar Explorer could be used for deep seabed mining but the expense of adapting it to a particular mining system would likely be prohibitive for a Commercial operation. Its valuep at present would mainly he as a sopisticated research ship and platform for testing ocean mining equipment.
?Now Howard ffiihez Mineq the Ocean 'Floor. Rusine~qq Week. Sune 19. 1A71. P. 47-50.
S HuoheaR Wfomar Explorer Begins Sea Tests of Mining Systems. Ocean Induatry. March 1974. p. .12-34.
0Alexander, Tom. Dead Ahead Toward a Bounded Main. Fortune, October 1974, p. 210.
10 Tinsley. op. cit.. p. 87.
11 Orean 9cierce Neu'n. Mar. 21. 1975, p. 2.
~'Washington Post. Mar. 19, 1975, p. Al, A10.

65-675 0 76 4


March 18, 1969 N.- KOOT ET AL 3)433,531

METHiOD AND) APP~ARATUS IFOR UND.E.RSiFA MININ~i Filed Dec. 271. 1966 5"heet 4 of


FIGuRE 14.-Patent issued to Global Marine, Inc.


After the CIA coverup story came out, Paul Reeve, general manager of the Sumnma Corporation, stated: "This equipment was developed as a prototype mining ship, and this is its objective."'23 Mr. Reeve is also reported to have acknowledged that extensive tests of the Hughes mining system still need to be concluded before he could make any predictions as to when Summa might actually produce nodules from the ocean floor.
Jack Flipse, president of iDeepsea Ventures, regarded the Summa Corp. as a legitimate mining interest which took on a related assignment for the CIA. He was reported to observe that up to about a year and a half before the CIA story broke, the company was working hard on its technology for processing manganese nodules. Suddenly, their efforts in that area ceased and the only reports of the Hughes ocean mining activities that surfaced were those concerning the ship and barge system design.'14

The recent trend of many firms to form international consortia to mine the ocean floor is claimed- to have many advantages. In the absence of an international agreement regarding exploitation of the deep seabed, one advantage is -broadened government support. Other advantages include the benefits of diverse capabilities, pooled investments, and shared risk.
The first international consortium to be formed for commercial exploitation of manganese nodules was the Kennecott group. This consortium, formed in January 1974, plans a $50 million five-year research and development program to determine the feasibility of mining ferromanganese nodules from the deep seabed and extracting metals from them.' The operation will be managed by Kennecott Copper Corp. which has a 50 percent interest in the venture. A portion of Kennecott's interest is derived from the value assigned to its prior experience in deep seabed mining. The group is composed of two British firms, Rio Tinto Zinc Corp. with 20_ percent interest and Consolidated Gold Fields Ltd. with 10 percent interest, the Japanese Mitsubishi Corp. with 10 percent interest and Noranda Mines Ltd. of Canada with 10 percent. A loan of up to $1.8 million has been offered to the British firms by the British government to be repaid when the venture first becomes commercial.
The second U.S. firm to announce participation in an international consortium to mine ferromanganese nodules was Tenneco's Deepsea Ventures, Inc. The initial members of this consortium were all Japanese trading firms: Nichimen Co., Ltd., C. Itoh and Co., Ltd., and Kanematsu-Gosho, Ltd.' The Consortium was reorganized in November 1974 to provide a wider base of international support. Two new members included Essex Iron Co. (wholly owned by United States Steel) and Union Mines, Inc. (wholly owned by Union Miniere, S.A. of Belgium). Ownership is set up as follows: private investors in Deepsea Ventures to have 5 percent; Tenneco to divide the remaining 95 percent equally four ways (if all options are exercised) among itself, the two new members, and Japan Manganese Nodule Develop13 Ocean Science News. Mar. 21, 1975, p. 1.
14 Ibid., P. 1.
15 Oceanograpjhy Newsletter, v. 9, No. 3, Feb. 4, 1974, pp. 1-2. 24 Oceanqgrcsphy Newsletter, v.-9, No. 9, May 13, 1974, p.41.,


ment Co., Ltd. (Jamco), which was set up by four Japanese companies. The agreement is to jointly assess a selected Pacific Ocean nodule deposit, scale-up and test mining and processing systems, and market-test the products recovered. The marketing program will be aimed at the signing of purchasing agreements prior to any commitment to begin a full-scale, commercial mining operation. Deepsea Ventures is to handle the mining and processing. The national groups will use proportionate shares of the metals in their respective domestic economies or worldwide trade. The total project is expected to cost approximately $200 million from development and evaluation through commercial operation. It is estimated that as many as 10 mining units, each with a capacity of a million tons per year, could be operating in the 1980's.17 Recent reports indicate that the Japanese are dropping out of this consortium and that Tennaco is reducing its interest.
The CLB Group also involves U.S. firms. This group, involving about 20 major companies in six countries, is a joint effort to develop a $5-million CLB system to full production.18 The CLB Group was initially-organized in 1971 and has been reorganized several times since. Participants in the CLB Group include Nippon and the Sumitomo Industries in Japan, France's Societe Le Nickel and CNEXO, Australia's Broken Hill Proprietary (BHP) steel and oil group, Canada's International Nickel Co. (INCO), Dome Mines, Placer Mining, Teck Corp., Noranda Mines Ltd., and Cominco Ltd., and a German combine of Preussag AG, Met'allgesellschaft AG and Salzgitter AG. U.S. firms participating include Ethyl Corp., Occidental Minerals, Phelps-Dodge, N.L. Industries, Superior Oil, Utah International, U.S. Steel, General Crude Oil, and Atlantic Richfield Oil. The consortium is managed by Dr. John L. Mero, president of Ocean Resources, Inc., of La Jolla, California. According to Dr. Mero, "The CLB aim is to get the system running on a full production basis to see what the costs and problems are by 1975. If everything looks good, then the group would break up and the individual companies would go their own ways in mining efforts.".9 This type of consortium which will not continue through full-scale commercial production is a departure from the other consortia arrangements.
Another international consortium for deep seabed nodule mining was formed early in 1975 by International Nickel 'Co. of Canada Ltd. (INCO) with its U.S. subsidiary, The International Nickel Co. Inc., the West German AMR group consisting of Metallgesellschaft AG, Preussag AG, Rheinische Braunkohlenwerke AG, and Salzgitter AG, and the Japanese group organized under the name Deep Ocean Mining Co. Ltd. (DOMCO) which represents six firms from the Sumitomo combine, Ataka and Co. Ltd., Tovo Menka Kaisha Ltd., Maurbeni Corp.. Kyokuvo Co. Ltd., Dowa Mining Co. Ltd., Nijvson Mining Co. Ltd., Shinko Electric Co., Nissho-Iwai Ltd., Tokyo Rope Manufacturing Co. Ltd.. and Mitsui OSK Alliance Ltd.20 Another U.S. participant, Sedco Inc.. joined the consortium later in the year. Each group will have an eoual interest in the project.
The agreement calls for the parties to proceed with design and development work to determine the economic and technical feasibility
17 Deep-Ocean Mining Takes a Sten Abend. Ocean Tndustry, March 1975, p. 82. 18 Oceanography Newsletter, v. 9, No. 12, June 24, 1974, pp. 1-2. "1 fbid. p. 1.
"o Ocean Science News, Apr. 11, 1975, p. 1.


of deep sea nodule mining. If results are favorable, the consortium will progress to commercial-scale mining and recovery of metals from manganese nodules. Most of the members of this consortium have been participants in the CLB Group.


More than 100 companies around the world are now engaged in various aspects of exploiting mineral resources from the ocean floor. Some of the major foreign nodule mining interests are listed below. These firms represent a spectrum ranging from mining companies and engineering firms to trading firms and banks. Most of these firms are now involved in joint ventures either nationally or with international consortia.
Australia: Broken Hill Proprietary. Belgium: Union Minere. Canada:
Cominco Ltd.
Dome Mines.
International Nickel Company.
Noranda Mines Ltd.
Placer Mining.
Teck Corp.
Federal Republic of Germany:
Metallgesellschaft A.G.
Preussag A.G.
Rheinische Braunkohlenwerke A.G.
Salzgitter A.G. France:
Centre National pour l'Exploitation des Oceans (CNEXO).
Socith Le Nickel. Great Britain:
Consolidated Gold Fields Ltd.
Rio Tinto Zinc Corp.
Japan: So far 33 Japanese firms have joined various international or national consortia to engage in deep seabed mining activities. Some of the principal
firms are:
Ataka and Co. Ltd.
C. Itoh and Co., Ltd.
Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank.
Dowa Mining Co. Ltd.
Fuji Bank.
Furutaka Shoji.
Hitachi Shipbuilding and Engineering.
Idemitsu Kosan Co. Ltd.
Kanematsu-Gosho Ltd.
Komatsu Ltd.
Kokuyo Co. Ltd.
Mitsubishi Corp.
Mitsui Osk Alliance Ltd.
Marubeni Corp.
Nichimen Co., Ltd.
Nijyson Mining Co. Ltd.
Nippon Steel.
Nissho-Iwal Ltd.
Pacific Metals.
Sanwa Bank.
Shinko Electric Co.
Sumitomo Metal Mining.
Sumitomo Shoji.
Sumitomo Shipbuilding and Machinery.
Tokyo Rope Manufacturing Co. Ltd.
Toyo Menka Kaisha Ltd.


Commercial mining of manganese nodules will have a significant impact on the world metals market. In attempting to assess the extent of this impact and project long range forecasts,. several problems are encountered.
The economic i t of nodule mining dependent on several
variables including e establishment of an international authority or legal framework, size of operations, metal production per ton of nodules, and timing of commercial operations. The amount of profit derived by the industry will determine to a fair extent the rate of development and subsequent impact of nodule mining. Since a commercial nodule industry is not yet an ongoing reality and themethodology is not yet proven under full scale prolonged operations, there is some question as to how attractive the economic returns will be. Although industry spokesmen are generally optimistic about the profits of nodule mining, hazards and technical difficulties are numerous.

The establishment of a favorable international regime for deep seabed exploitation will also influence the extent and timing of the economic impact of nodule mining. In the last five years, several proposals for a new treaty on ocean resources have been submitted to the United Nations, and the member nations have been actively preparing for, and finally participating in, the third U.N. Law of the Sea Conference. Pending conclusion of a workable system, companies have been hesitant to invest the amounts of money necessary to proceed to commercial operations without some assurance of security for their investment. Any projection of a time scale for future metal production from nodules would have to assume the establishment of an international regime or reasonably secure and profitable investment climate in order to make realistic estimates. In a recent United Nations report on the economic implications of deep seabed mineral development, projections of metal production from nodules were made based on the assumption that an internationally agreed legal framework will come into force by 1976.21 However, unless there is more substantive progress at further sessions of the Law of the Sea Conference, many observers feel that such an assumption would be very optimistic.
Another factor that will influence the economic impact of a nodule mining industry is the size of the industry. As in most manufacturing or processing operations, there is an economy of scale. That is, there is a point up to which the unit cost is reduced by scaling up the size of the operation. For manganese nodules the economies of scale are much greater for the processing stage. This means that the unit costs probably still decrease for plant sizes capable of processing up to 3 to 4 million tons of dry nodules per year. On the other hand, hydraulic or air-lift nodule recovery systems apparently reach their optimum size at a capacity of 5,000 to 10,000 tons of wet nodules per day. This would provide a processing plant with to 2..mjiljg. gWn Pf-dry

nodules per year. Consequently, a mining company may be expected to operate 2 or 3 mining rigs and a plant designed to process 3 to 4 million tons per year. However, Deepsea, Ventures, which intends to produce high purity manganese for which the world market is relatively small, initially plans a plant of only about 1 million tons of nodules per year.
Processing techniques and grade of the nodules will determine the metal production per ton of nodules which effects the economic impact. Industry sources have generally indicated that the minimum metal enrichment for a nodule deposit to be economically profitable is on the order of 2 to 2.5 percent combined copper and nickel. High cobalt values could lower the acceptable copper plus nickel grade if a company were more interested in marketing cobalt. The amount of metal recovered depends on the efficiency of the metallurgical process developed. Indications at present are that industry may obtain y ields on the order of 90 to 95 percent of the major metals from the nodules. Trace metals such as molybdenum, vanadium, zinc, silver, the platinum group, etc., ma be recovered at slightly lower yields on the order of 80 percent Fa1ble 5 is a projection by the United Nations for metal production per million tons of nodules. These projections assume an average metal content that may be somewhat higher than a typical commercial grade deposit would assay. From public comments of industry spokesmen, commercial deposits may average 28 percent manganese, 1.25 percent nickel, 1.1 percent copper, and 0.25 percent cobalt. An average metallurgical recovery efficiency of 95 percent may also be more likely initially. Using these figures a one million ton per year operation might be expected to produce 252.000 tons of manganese, 11,900 tons of nickel, 10,500 tons copper, and 2,400 tons cobalt. In terms of 1973 U.S. Imports, a one million ton per year plant (the minimum size likely) could provide approximately 6 percent of nickel imports, 2.5 percent of copper imports, and 19 percent of cobalt imports. Comparisons of nodule production to manganese imports are generally misleading because most manganese imports are not converted to the higher value higher purity metal which would be the product of nodule processing.
Metal content Approximate metal
per weight of production per mildry nodules lion tons of dry
Metal (in percent) nodules (in tons) I
Manganese (if recovery ------------------------ 24.0 230, 000
Nickel ------------------------------------------------------------- 1.6 15,000
Copper-------------------------------------------------------------- 1.4 13,000
Cobat-------------------------------------------------------------- .21 2,000
Other metals--------------------------------------------------------- .3 2,5(0
1 Assuming 95 percent metallurgical recovery except for trace metals where an 80 percent rate is assumed. Source: Ibid., p. 28.
Another estimate of metal recovery from noduiles by U.S. mi ningr interests in 1985 was prepared by Robert 'Nathian As;sociates for the Senate Committee on Commerce,. National Ocean Policy Study


(Table 6). This study assumed entry into commercial operation of one U.S. mining firm of one million tons annual capacity and two firms each of 3 million tons annual recovery for a total of 7 million tons per year. The firm with the smaller recovery (Deepsea Ventures) would be the only U.S. mining interest recovering manganese. The recovery efficiency of the major inetals by this firm was projected at 95 percent. The recovery efficiency of the other firms was projected somewhat lower at 80 percent.
Item Nickel Copper Cobalt Manganese
Approximate average content in initially mined ore (percent) -------------------------------------------- 1.25 1.15 0.25 28
Dee ea ventures-1,000,000 tons of ore:
Pies coverable metal (tons) per 100 tons of ore at 95
percent recovery rate -------------------------- 1.2 1.1 .24 27
Tons of metal recovered (thousands) -------------- 12 11 2.4 270
Other operations-6,000,000 tons of ore: I
Percent of metal recovered ----------------------- 80 80 50 -------------Recoverable metal (tons) per 100 tons of ore ------- 1.00 .92 .12 -------------Tons of metal recovered (thousands) -------------- 60 55 7.2 -------------Total tons of metal recovered (thousands) -------------- 72 66 9.6 270
Price per ton (dollars)(1973) 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . 3,050 1,200 5,740 660
Gross value at 1973 prices (millions of dollars) ---------- 220 79 55 180
1 Original data from "Manganese Nodules (11): Prospects for Deep-sea Mining," Science, Feb. 15, 1974, pp. 644-646.
2 U.S. Bureau of Mines, Commodity Data Summaries, 1974. Source: U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Commerce, national ocean policy study. The Economic Value of Ocean Resources to the United States. Committee Print, 93d Cong. 2d sess. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1974, p. 21.
The time schedule for entry of companies into commercial nodule mining operations will influence the economic impact of metals from the deep seabed. As each company enters the commercial phase, the total amount of metals extracted will increase. However, at this time any definite schedule of events is purely speculative. No commercialscale processing facilities are under construction and full-scale mining operations are.not likely to begin much in advance of the completion of the processing plant. Even if full-scale mining equipment were completed, tested, and utilized to stockpile nodules, the world metals market would not be affected until the nodules were processed. Due to the lag time in design and construction, it does not appear likely that full-scale processing will begin before 1979 or 1980. Assuming no major delays from technical problems or an international authority, a world wide production of 15 million metric tons of dry nodules could be,
19 8 '.22 23
reached by Production from consortia involving U.S. firms
could be expected to account for half that total or about 7 million tons (assuming 2 operations of 3 million tons each and one operation of 1 million tons).
22 United Nations. A/CONF.62/65, op. cit., p. 31.
23 U.S. 'Congress. Senate. Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. Mineral resources of the deep seabed. Hearings before the Subcomittee on Minerals, Materials and Fuels on S. 1134. 93d Congress, 1st session. May 17, June 14, 15, 18, and 19, 1973. Washington. D.C., U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1973, 768. p. 201-221.


In attempting to predict the economic impact of nodule mining, variables other than the future metal production from nodules must be considered. Two such variables are the future metal production from traditional sources and projected demand for these metals. Supply and demand are also related to price. One method of assessing the economic impact of nodule mining is to estimate the degree of market penetration or share of the market each metal produced from nodules is likely to have. The assumption is made that supply will equal total consumption.
Projections of demand for the four major metals recovered from mangyanese nodules vary widely from one source to another. Projections compiled for the House Subcommittee on Oceanography by the Cong ressional Research Service are presented in Table 7.24 Unless new uses for cobalt can be found, demand for this metal is likely to remain small. Output from nodule mining could significantly affect the cobalt market. By 1985 U.S. nationals recovering 7 million tons of dry nodules would be able to satisfy nearly two-thirds of projected U.S. needs for cobalt and more than one-third of world demand.
24U.S. Congress. House. Commitee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries. Deep seabed hard minerals. Hearings before the Subcommitee on Oceanography on H.R. 9 and H.R. 7732. 93d Cong. Mar. 1, 28, 29, Apr. 3, 1973, and H.R. 12233 Feb. 26, 27, 28, 1974. Washington, D.C., U.S. Govt. Print. Off.. 1974, p. 347.


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According to recent statements by Deepsea Ventures, pure manganese metal will not be recovered from nodules but other high purity forms of manganse will be produced. The demand for high purity, forms of manganese of greater value than high carbon ferromanganese is relatively low, although greater than the demand for pure manganese metal. One U.S. firm with the capability to produce one million tons (dry weight) of nodules per year intending to market manganese in the form of low or medium carbon ferromanganese could more than satisfy the projected U.S. demand in 1985 and approximately equal the U.S. demand in 2000. If the silicomanganese market were also entered, a larger manganese production could be marketed. In any event, the impact on the markets for these forms of manganese would be significant, but there would be relatively little impact on the much larger manganese ore and high carbon ferromanganese markets.
The markets for copper and nickel are large enough that they will likely not be significantly affected by nodule mining in 1985. If U.S. mining ventures recovered 5 million tons of dry nodules per year, they would supply 18 percent of the projected U.S. demand for nickel in 1985 and only 1.5 percent of the U.S. demand for copper.
In projecting the value of metals processed from nodules to the U.S. economy in 1985 and 2000, the report for the National Ocean Policy Study determined a value of $387 million by 1985 and $835 million by 2000 (Table 8). This projection assumed production of metallic manganese and a drop in the price of cobalt and manganese metal compared to Table 6.
(in 1973 dollars]
1985 2000
Output Output
(thousand Price Value (thousand Price Value
Metals short tons) (per ton) (millions) short tons) (per ton) (millions)
Manganese-------------- 270. 0 $200 $54 540. 0 $200 $108
Cobalt------------------ 9.6 1,500 14 19.2 1,500 28
Nickel------------------ 72. 0 2,:900 209 144. 0 3, 040 438
Copper----------------- 66.0 1,660 110 132.0 1,980 261
Total-------------------------------------- 387----------------------------- 835
Source: The Economic Value of the Ocean Resources to the United States, op. cit., p. 26.

Based on an assumed production of 15 million tons of dry nodules by 1985, the United Nations forecasted the impact on the worl-d metals market. The United Nations forecast (Table 9) multiplied the metal recovery per million tons of dr-y nodules from Table 5 by 15. This calculation is valid mainly for nickel and copper which are'the majormetals of interest to the nodule industry. Ini the case of magaiese only two companies or groups have announced their itenitionls to pr'odluce this metal; consequently, estimates of mnaeepr-oducltion1 a11"( based on only 4 million tons of niodules. -Manganiese production could


be higher than 920,000 tons if more companies recover the metal. On the other hand, the market for refined manganese is relatively small and not likely to be cost competitive with high carbon ferromanganese used in steelmaking. Consequently, since low purity manganese cannot compete with land ores and the additional cost of refining manganese from nodules will not justify the return for most companies, manganese production from nodules may be much lower than the U.N. estimate. Cobalt and minor metals are quite variable in nodules, and have relatively high concentrations in some deposits. Production of cobalt and other minor metals could be higher than the U.N. estimates in Table 9.
Production from
nodules as a
Estimated percentage of
Production from net import net import
Probable Esti mated nodules as a re uirement requirement of production world percentage of industrial industrial from nodules demand world demand countries countries
Manganese 2 ................ 920 16,400 6.0 7,300 13.0
Nickel --------------------- 220 1 220 18.0 770 26.0
Copper -------------------- 200 14:900 1.3 33,600 5.5
Cobalt --------------------- 30 360 50.0 NA NA
I Assuming that net import requirements would be proportionately the same as in 1972.
2 Manganese recovery is assumed from only 4 million tons of nodules.
3 Excluding the centrally planned economies.
Source: United Nations, A/CONF.62/25, op. cit., p. 42.
A working paper on the economic effects of deep seabed exploitation was submitted in 1974 by the United States delegation to the law of the Sea Conference in Caracas. This paper pointed out the interests of all consumers in encouraging seabed output and the unlikelihood that the income of existing producers would decrease even with seabed production. In some respects, this pap r was a rebuttal to a few of the projections made in the recent economic report of the U.N. SecretaryGeneral .25The U.S. working paper tabulated the approximate values of mineral production from each country and projected these to 1980 and 1985 (Tables 10 and 11). Production from seabed mining was also estimated for 1980 and 1985. Particular reference is made to the production from developing, countries (Group of 77) which have expressed great concern for the possible loss ol export revenues and have taken a firm position at the Law of the Sea Conference for complete U.N. control of seabed mining. An important point highlighted in Table 11 is that the projected income of individual landbased producers from their production of the four metals will increase significantly between the present and 1985, even with seabed mining.
25 United Nations, A, CONF. 62/25, op. cit., 92 p.



[Dollar amounts in millions of 1971 dollars]

Percent of
Cobalt Copper Manganese Nickel Total world output

1. Total -------------------- $115 16, 125 $223 $445 $6, 908 100. 00
11. Group of 77 counts ies------------- 88 2,602 98 45 2,833 40.0
Ill. Other countries-------- ---------- 27 3,523 125 400 4,075 60.0
Nongroup of 77:
United States ---- ----- ------1,522 ---- -- -9 1,531 22.0
Canada ------------------------ i- 720-------------- 186 917 13.0
Union Soviet Socialist Republic. ---- 8 680 76 80 844 12.0
Australia----------------------- 2 195 11 22 230 3. 0
South Africa------------------------------ 174 36 9 219 3.0
Japan ----------------------------------- 133 2-------------- 135 2.0
Poland----------------------------------- 99------------------------- 99 1.0
France-------------------------------------------------------- 71 71 1.0
Rhodesia--------------------------------------11---------------- 9 9 9 1
Finland------------------------ 6 ------------------6 1
Greece ------------------------------------------------------------- 9 .1
Group of 77 producers:
Chile ---------------------------------- 790 ------------------------ 790 11.0
Zambia ------------------------ 1 718 ------------------------ 728 10.0
Zaire -------------------------- 65 449 4-------------- 518 7.0
Peru------------------------------------- 235 -------------- ---------- 235 3.0
Philippines------------------------------- 230 ------------------------ 230 3. 0
China ----------------- --------- --------- 110 12-------------- 122 2.0
Mexico ---------------------------------- 70 2-------------- 72 1.0
Cuba------------------------8--- i---------------------- 27 35 .5
Bra;il-----------------------------------------2----------- ----- 29 4
Gabon --------------------------------------------2----20 ------------ 20 .3
India---------------------------------------------- 20 ------ 20 .3
Indonesia----------------------------------------------------- 18 18 .3
Morocco----------------------- 5 ------------- ---------------------- 5 .1
Ghana --------------------------------------------- 7 ------ 7 .1

INote: See bottom Table 11 fcr source and comments.

(Dollar amounts in millions of 1971 dollars]

Cobalt Copper Manganese Nickel Total Percent

Land based:
Group of 77 producers:
1'971 ------------------ $88 $2,602 $98 $45 $2,833 40
1980---------------------- 99 4,036 110 131 4,376 41
1985 ---------------------- 106 5,214 150 175 5,645 41
Other countries:
1971----------------------- 27 3,523 125 400 4,075 60
1980---------------------- 31 5,346 200 486 6,063 56
Sebd:1985---------------------- 34 6,755 213 650 7,654 55
1971--------------------------- 0 0 0 0 0 0
1980 -------------------------- 70 123 12 135 340 3
1985-------------------------- 120 158 33 181 492 4
1971-------------------------- 115 6,125 223 445 6,908 100
1980-------------------------- 200 9,505 322 752 10,779 100
1985-------------------------- 260 12,127 396 1,006 13,789 100

I Countries are listed in rank order of the total value of the four metals in question. The countries listed produce at least
1 percent of the world production of one of the metals listed.
Source: Data is extrapolated from UNCTAD documents TD/B/449/Add 1; TD/B3/484; TD/B/483; TD/113/Supp. 4; U.N. document A/Conf.62/25; and U.S. Department of the Interior 1971 "Minerals Yearbook."

A 6

Based on recent information regarding participation by U.S. firms and U.S. subsidiaries of foreign interests in international consortia and U.S. Bureau of Mines projections of annual increases in domestic demand for the metals contained in nodules '2" another projection can be made of the benefit to the United States from nodule mining operations. The Bureau of Mines projections of annual increases in domestic demand through 1980 are extended at the same rate through 1985 and 2000. These projections are: manganese 2 percent, nickel 3 percent, copper 3.5 percent, and cobalt 3 percent. While this extension is somewhat speculative, it is probably within the acceptable range. Straight projection of these annual increases in demand lead to estimates of domestic consumption in 1985 of 420,000 short tons of silicomanganese plus low and medium carbon ferromanganese, 340,000 tons nickel, 3,400,000 tons copper, and 13,000 tons cobalt. These projections are generally lower than those cited previously as they place more emphasis on current economic conditions. On the other hand, newer projections by the Bureau of Mines indicate that U.S. demand for some of these metals by 1985 and the year 2000 may even be lower.2T
All of the international consortia have U.S. participants who control from approximately 20 to over 50 percent of the consortium. Assuming recovery rates of 3 million tons of nodules per year for each consortium (Deepsea Ventures announced in its Notice of Claim, Appendix D, that it contemplates future recovery of approximately this amount), the total amount of nodules processed and marketed by U.S. firms in 1985 could range from 4 to 5 million tons (Table 12). An additional .5 to 1.0 Million tons, representing the share of U.S. subsidiaries of foreign firms, could also be added to the domestic market. Using a recovery of 5 million tons the following estimates of the percent of U.S. consumption in 1985 supplied from nodule mining by U.S. interests are made: .95 percent of the domestic demand for low and medium carbon ferromanganese Dlus silicoman.qanese, nickel 18 percent, copper 1.5 percent, and cobalt 92 percent (Table 13).
Total nodules
controlled by
U.S. interests
Company (million tons)
U.S. firms ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 4-5
Dee'sea Ventures
Essex I ron Kennecott Lockheed
U.S. subsidiaries ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- .5-1
Union Mines
International Nickel Co.
Total U.S. firms and subsidiaries (million tons) -------------------------------------------- 4.54

In 1985 commercial deep seabed mining would still be in fairly early stages and could be expected to expand rapidly through the year 2000. Although highly speculative at this time, nodule recovery by U.S. interests in the year 2000 is projected here at 10 million tons annually,
26 U. S. Bureau of Mines. Community Data Summaries 1976. U.S. Govt. Print. Office, 1976. 43. 47, 99, 113.
211T.S. Bureau of Mines, Mineral Facts and Problems, 1975 edition. In press.



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resulting in reductions in the projected levels of imports of 90 percent for the manganese materials selected, 31 percent of the nickel imports, 10.4 percent of the copper imported, and cobalt could be produced for export if not substituted for nickel in some uses to further reduce nickel imports.
'These estimates are based on those companies that at this point in time are probably the most likely U.S. interests to be participating in commercial nodule mining operations by 1985. The U.S. participants in the CLB Group are nrot included, as that consortium was formed for exploration and development only, but not for commercial exploitation as a joint venture. However, the U.S. participants in the CLB Group may join consortia not yet announced, or existing consortia and, consequently, might also be involved in commercial nodule mining operations by 1985. Lockheed has developed nodule mining and processing systems, but the future role of Lockheed in deep seabed minin g is still uncertain, However, it is assumed that if the investment security is favorable enough for other U.S. firms to enter into commercial nodule recovery, Lockheed will probably also be able to attract financing and possibly other U.S. firms as partners. For these reasons the estimates of metals recovered from nodules by U.S. firms in 1985 arrived at a Table 13 may be minimum amounts. The projections to the year 2000 assume roughly a doubling of the 1985 level of nodule recovery by U.S. interests.
Imports of manganese ore and standard (high carbon) ferromianganese account for the bulk of the U.S. demand for manganese and these imports would not likely be reduced by more than a few percent as the manganese materials produced from nodules would not compete in these lower priced markets. Based on 19,75 prices, the above projection of nodule Lmining could supply the United States with approximately $0.8 billion per year in metals by the year 2000. Nodule mining by other countries, or foreign shares in consortia could likely totl three to five times this amount per year by then.

Over 40 percent of the nickel consumed is used in stainless steel alloys to increase strength and corrosion resistance. Nickel-alloy steels are used in high temperature applications such as jet engines and turbines. Other uses include electroplating, resistance alloys in electrical equipment, pollution control equipment, chemical industry, and petroleum refining. World-wide consumption has increased at an average rate of about 6.5 percent per year over the last 25 years and prospects for a continued annual increase of at least 6 percent are likely.28
In 1974, 73 percent of the U.S. demand for nickel was supplied by imports (Fig. 15). Consumption was reported at 273,000 short tons (including scrap). During the period 1971-74 the major import sources were: Canada 68 percent, Norway 8 percent, New Caledonia 6 percent, Dominican Republic 5 percent, and others 13 percent (Norway's raw material was nickel-copper matte from Canada) .29 The United States produces only about 7 percent of its nickel requirements and recycles
28 United Nations A/CONF. 62/25, op. cit., p. 34. 2U.S. Bureau of Mines. Commodity Data Summaries 1976, U.S. Govt. Print. Office, Washington, D.C. 1976, p. 112.


about 24 percent from scrap. Consumer stocks are estimated at 37,000 short tons of metal. Nickel is not currently stockpiled by the U.S. Government.
U.S. Bureau of Mines projections indicate domestic demand for nickel is expected to increase at an annual rate of about 3 percent through 1980.30 Domestic production is expected to remain at the level set in the last 5 years. Barring unforeseen shortages and future cartels (see section on possible cartel action) supRlies should be available from relatively secure. foreign sources at prices comparable to those now prevailing. In 1972, the United States imported 24.6 percent of the world nickel production and produced 2.4 percent. World mine production and reserves are given in Table 14.
Mine Production Reserves
Grade of ore
Country 1974 1975 Quantity (percent)
United States --------------------------------------- 16,618 16,500 200,000 0.8-1.3
Canada -------------------------------------------- 299,661 285,000 9,600,000 1.5-3
New Caledonia -------------------------------------- 142,800 140,000 26,000,000 1-5
Other market economy countries ---------------------- 188,344 200,000 16,100,000 0.24.0
Cuba I --------------------------------------------- 35,000 35,000 3,400,000 1.4
Central economy countries --------------------------- 143,300 145,000 4,200,000 0.4-4.0
World total ----------------------------------- 825,723 821,500 59,500,000 -------------I Estimate.
Source: Commodity Data Summaries 1976, op. cit., p. 113.
There would appear to be no world supply problem to the year 2000 since the probable reserves at current prices are three times the probable cumulative demand. Supply is concentrated in a few industrialized countries. Canada, the Soviet Union, and France (New Caledonia) accounted for 74 percent of the world mine production in 1972. Developing countries produced less than 13 percent of the world total in 1972 but their output has been increasing. Developing countries may be assumed to produce as much as 20 percent of the" world's nickel by 198503"
Using the assumptions it developed, the U.N. report (A/CONF-62/ 25) estimated that world nickel production from nodules might account for about 18 percent of the total demand by 1985, Table 9. This degree of market penetration may depress prices somewhat but may not seriously affect traditional producers. High cost projects may not be developed. The working paper of the IT.S. delegation to the Law of the Sea Conference pointed out that even with seabed mining, land based production will need to increase nearly 70 percent from the 1972 production level to meet anticipated demand bv 11985). The IT.S. workinff paper suggests that such a large increase in demand can be expected to result in increased prices sucli that a number of high cost land deposits which were marginal may become economically feasible. Furthermore, 30 percent of the increase in land pr(Aucti0ii would come from developing countries.
3D Ibid., P. 113.
United TNations. A/CONP.62/25, op. cit., p. 34.

65-675 0 76 5



0% 2s% 50% 7?7% 100%

071 25% 50% 16% 10


Source: U.S. Bureau of Mines. Minerals and Materials/a monthly survey. U.S. Govt. Print. Office, Washington, D.C., December 1975, p. 6.


Because of its electrical conductivity and corrosion resistance, copper

is used extensively in electrical equipment, wire, tubing and sheeting,

and in alloys. World wide demand for copper has been increasing at

an average annual rate of 5 percent for the past 2 decades. Prospects

for a continued increase in demand on the order of 4 to 5 percent per

year are considered good through the end of the century.12 Copper is

mined in 56 countries. Industrial countries are the largest producers

and consumers with 46 percent of the total mined in 1972 coming from

the United States, Canada, and the Soviet Union. Developing countries are the leading exporters, producing 42 percent of the 1972 world

mine tonnage. In 1972, the United States produced 23 percent of the

world production of copper and imported 2.4 percent of the world


In 1974, 18 percent of the U.S. demand for copper was -supplied

from imports. Consumption was reported at 2,194,000 short tons and

252,000 tons were released from the Government stockpile in 1974.

32 Ibid. p. 36.

During the period 1971-74 major import sources were: Canada 33 percent, Peru 22 percent, Chile 17 percent, Republic of South Africa 6 percent, and others 22 percent .33 Ap-proximately 20 percent of the copper consumed by the United Statesin 1974 was recycled from scrap. Producer stocks of refined copper are estimated by the Bureau of Mines at about 45,000 tons. LUnder authorization to dispose of the entire amount, the Government stockpile of copper was reduced close to zero in 1974. Sources of supply for the United States are relatively secure. Shortages of copper relative to demand in the United States have developed in the past due to a number of factors including: (1) A surge in world demand, (2) disruptions of production in Chile, Canada, and Belgium, (3) some curtailment in domestic output to meet air quality standards', (4) transport problems in Canada and Zambia, and (5) the effect of U.S. economic controls coupled with increasing world prices.
A summary of world production and copper reserves is listed in Table 15.
TABLE 15.-WORLD MINE PRODUCTION'AND COPPER RESERVES tin thousands of short tons of copper)
Mine production
Country 1974 1975 1 Reserves
United States ------------------------------------------------ 1,597 1,420 90,000
Australia ---------------------------------------------------- 282 250 10,000
Canada ----------------------------------------------------- 929 850 40,000
Chile-------------------------------------------------------- 998 900 86,000
Peru-------------------------------------------------------- 246 240 30,000
Philippines--------------------------------------------------- 249 240 16,000
Zaire-------------------------------------------------------- 550 470 20,000
Zambia ----------------------------------------------------- 769 730 30,000
U.S.S.R ----------------------------------------------------- 816 820 40, 000
Other ------------------------------------------------------ 1,673 1,680 88,000
World total--------------------------------------------- 8, 109 7, 600 450, 000
1 Estimate.
Source: Commodity Data Summaries 1976, op. cit., p. 47.
The Bureau of Mines estimates hypothetical resources, located near known deposits, probably contain an additional 480 million tons of copper and a speculative 320 million tons is assigned to areas not yet prospected. It would appear that copper produced from manganese nodules would have only a minimal effect on copper supply and no effect on price.
At an increase in demand of 4 to 5 percent per annum as projected in the U.N. Secretary -General's report, world production would amount to nearly 15 million short tons or roughly twice current production by 1985. Consequently, nodule production is expected to have a very minor impact on the copper market, yield ding only 200,000 tons or 1.3 percent of the total consumption (Table 9). Imports of copper by the industrial countries are likely to remain at around one-third of their consumption by 1985. TheUS Bureau of Mines projects dlomestic demand for copper to increase at an average annuiial growth rate of
3.5 percent through 1980.
More than 90 percent of the world production of mangranese is used in steel making primarily as a scav-engcer for remiovlingr sul fur, oxy gen,
3Commodity Data Summaries 1975, op. cit., p. 44.


and trace impurities. Used as an alloy, manganese makes steel more resistant to shock or abrasion. Metallurgical ore and ferromanganese are the manganese materials most commonly used in steel making. The market for high purity forms of manganese is relatively small. Because of processing difficulties, high purity forms of manganese are the, only forms of manganese expected to be marketed from nodules.
All of the manganese consumed in the United States in 1.974 was either imported or released from government stockpile. Domestic production ceased in 197 0 and there is essentially no recycling of manganese metal. During the period 1971-74 the major import sources of manganese ore were: Brazil 35 percent, Gabon 31 percent, Australia 9 percent, Republic of South Afr1ca 8 percent, and others 17 percent. During the same period import sources of ferromanganese were: France 39 percent, Republic of South Africa 36 percent, India 8 percent, and others 17 percent. Total producer and consumer stocks are estimated by the Bureau of Mines to be about 1,500,000 short tons. of manganese ore, which typically ranges from 35 to 54 percent manganese, and 250,000 tons of ferromanganese at 74 to 95 percent manganese. Industrial consumption in the United States in 1974 was 1,880,000 tons of manganese ore and 1,115,000 tons of ferromanganese. With regard to the m angaiiese materials in the price range of materials that would likely be produced from nodules, U.S. consumption of low and medium carbon ferromanganese was 159,659 short tons in 1974 and consumption of silicomanganese was 177,166 short tons. The Bureau of Mines estimates domestic demand for manganese will increase at an annual rate of approximately 2 percent through 1980.
Several manoanese materials are inventoried in the Government stockpile (Table 16). Assuming a requirement of 13 pounds of manganese per ton of raw steel produced, and an annual steel production of 120 million tons, the amount in the Government stockpile can be calculated to last about 3 years. World mine production and reserves are given in Table 17. Reserves alone are more than adequate to meet expected world demand for the balance of the century. Known landbased resources are very large and irregularly distributed throughout the world. The Bureau of Mines estimates U.S. resources could satisfy expected domestic demand for manganese to the year 2000. However, because these resources are much more expensive to process than foreign ores, domestic production has ceased.
Total Available for Sales,
Material Objective inventory Total excess disposal 10 months
Natural ore ----------------------- 11 210 199 75 44
Synthetic dioxide -------------------------------- 3 3 2 -------------Chemical:
Type A ore ----------------------- 13 147 134 112 -------------Type 8 ore ----------------------- 13 81 68 46 1
Metallurgical ore ---------------------- 751 3,167 2,416 561 64
High carbon ---------------------- 200 600 400 ---------------------------Medium carbon ------------------- 11 29 18 ---------------------------Silicomanganese ---------------------- 16 24 8 ---------------------------Electrolytic metal --------------------- 5 14 9 ---------------------------Source: INd., p. 96.

TABLE 17.-WORLD MINE PRODUCTION AND MANGANESE RESERVES [in thousands of short tons of manganesel
Mine production
Country 1974 19751 Reserves
UnitedStates .... . . ... ... . .................................... .................. ......
Australia..... ... ------------------------------------------------ 1,678 1,800 330,000
Brazil .... ....................-------------------------------------------------- 2,000 2,000 95,000
Gabon ..... ..... .... .. ... ...------------------------------------------------- 2,357 2,400 210,000
India- -------------------------------------------------- 1,595 1,500 65,000
Suth Africa, Republic of.. ------------------------------------- 4,129 4,500 2,200,000
Other market economy countries -------------------------------- 1,716 1,600 30,000
Central economy countries..... .................------------------------------------ 10,700 11,000 3,000,000
World total.................. ................----------------------------------------- 24,175 24,800 6,000,000
1 Estimate.
Source: Commodity Data Summaries 1976, p. 99.
Demand for manganese is considered relatively stable and not likely to increase rapidly with increased supplies. The U.N. Secretary-General's report expects manganese demand to continue to increase at about 5 percent per year reaching approximately 16.4 million tons of manganese-in-ore by 1985. Estimates of manganese production from nodules are tenuous, but assuming recovery of 920,000 tons by 1985 as estimated by the U.N. report, this would amount to 5.6 percent of the estimated world demand of manganese in ore. However, since manganese from nodules is expected to be marketed only as premium priced manganese materials, this amount of production would approximately satisfy the world demand for these materials. Only if the pure metal could be marketed at a price competitive with standard high carbon ferromanganese would greater production from nodules be expected.
Developing countries currently produce about 56 percent of the world's manganese. According to the Secretary-General's report these countries may be expected to feel a significant impact from nodule mining. However, as the U.S. working paper pointed out, the Secretary-General's report failed to fully consider the uses of manganese and the market for manganese metal (primarily the small likelihood that ferromanganese from nodules would significantly replace high carbon ferromanganese or manganese ore in steelmak ing). It seems unlikely that the assumption in the Secretary-General's report of a significant impact on land-based manganese producers from nodule mining will be realized. The only country where manganese is a significant export factor is Gabon, where it is 20 percent of the total value of the exports. Manganese represents 2 percen-t or less of the value of the exports from each of the other developing country producers (Brazil. India, Zaire, Ghana, and Morocco).

Cobalt has important magnetic and chemical properties. and is resistant to high temperatures. Although it is used in a variety of industrial products, it has a relatively small market. At lower prices cobalt could substitute for a number of other metals such as nickel in


a variety of uses. Cobalt is primarily produced as a by-product of copper and nickel refining.
Imports suppliedover 98 percent of the U.S. demand for cobalt in 1,974. U.S. consumption totaled 9,431 short tons. Shipments from government stockpiles were reported at 4,468 short tons and 135 short tons or a little over one percent of the domestic cobalt consumption was recovered from scrap. Domestic mine production ceased in 1971. The major import sources during the period 1971-74 were: Zaire 47 percent, Belgium-Luxembourg 29 percent, Finland 7 percent, Norway 7 percent, Canada 4 percent, Zambia 2 percent, -and others 4 percent.The U.S. Bureau of Mines estimates consumer stocks of about 1,000 -tons of metal. The Government stockpile status report for November 30, 1975, listed an objective of 5,972 tons of cobalt with a total inventory of 23,448 tons and an excess of 17,476 tons. At a consumption rate of 9,000 tons per year, the stockpile -inventory would yield less than a 3-year supply and the objective would last 8 months.The U.S. demand for cobalt is projected by the Bureau -of Mines to increase about 2.6 percent per year through 1980.
World mine production and reserves are summarized in Table 18. Two-thirds of the world's production comes from Zaire; however, increasing amounts are expected to come from other countries such as the Philippines, Australia, New Caledonia, Canada, and Zambia. Present land reserves are twice the cumulative world demand to the year 2000. The identified cobalt resources of the United State s* are estimated by the Bureau of Mines at more than 840,000 tons and world resources at more than 5,000,000 toils.
Mine production Reserves
Grade of ore
Country 1974 19751 Quantity (percent)
Canada -------------------------------------------- 2,120 2,000 190,000 0.03-0.06
Morocco ------------------------------------------- 1,932 1,900 14,000 1.6
New Caledonia and Australia' ------------------------ 850 800 740,000 0.1-5.0
Zaire ---------------------------------------------- 19,340 17,000 750,000 0.3-2.0
Zambia -------- ------------------------------------ 3,490 3,500 380,000 0.05-0.25
Other market economy countries ---------------------- 2,072 2,000 25,000 0. 1
Central economy countries --------------------------- 3,700 3,700 1600,000 0.07-0.1
World total ----------------------------------- 33,504 30,900 2,700,000 -------------I Estimate.
According to the projections in the Secretary-General's report, world demand for cobalt is expected to increase 6 to 8 percent per year through 1985. From this, the report concludes that world demand may reach 60,000 tons by 1985 with 30,000 tons recovered from nodules. Consequently, the price will start falling once cobalt recovered from


nodules reaches the market. Cobalt produced from domestic mining operations, recovering a total of 7 million tons of nodules per year, would assure a domestic source for all the U.S. needs to the year 2000.

Sustained long-term development of the nodule industry will depend on its position relative to other sources of metal supply such aso recycling and land mining. Technological developments, possible institutional constraints, and market conditions all affect the relative competitive position of metals supply. Industry sources indicate that the first generation of nodule mining will likely be very profitable. Once the industry expands into a second generation of investment and technology, possible declines in revenues may not be offset, by reductions in cost. Once a metal becomes abundant, its price will fall to the level of its most important substitute.
If half of the world demand is sup lied from nodule mining by 1985, cobalt is likely to be one of thefirst price casualties. Its price would eventually fall to the price level of nickel. High purity manganese materials are also vulnerable. One nodule operation of one million tons per year could supply a large fraction of the projected world demand for premium manganese materials by 1980. If this amount of high purity manganese could be marketed economically, it would likely cause the substitution of premium manganese materials in other uses as the price fell. Molybdenum may also be supplied from nodules in great abundance relative to demand. Possibly declining prices of cdobalt, manganese, and molybdenum are not expected to affect severely the profitability of the nodule mining industry. Profits will be based mainly on nickel and copper. Nickel and copper from nodules Would least affect their world markets and would remain the long-term profit basis of the nodule mining industry.
Although not precisely known, the extent of the world-wide ferromanganese nodule reserves bears mention. Reserves are currently estimated to be on the order of 1.5 trillion tons in the Pacific Ocean alone.34 Unlike many resources, ferromanganese nodules are currently forming. The rate of formation in the Pacific Ocean has been estimated at 6 to 10 million tons per year .35 Most of the nodules are not economically minable. Consequently, the minable reserves are probably on the order of 10 billion to 500 billion tons.36 For comparison, future mining operations could be expected to recover 15 to 20 million tons per year by the end of the next decade. One estimate of the reserves of metals in manganese nodules of the Pacific Ocean and the number of years these might last at the consumption rate of 1960 is given in Table 19.
31 Mero, J. L. Potential economic value of ocean-floor manganese nodule deposits.I Ferromanganese Depo8it8 on te Ocean Floor, Horn, D. R., ed., IDOE, National Science Foundation, Washington, D.C. 1972: 191-203.
-Time, July 29, 1974. p. 57.
30 Mero, op. cit., p. 202.



Approxi- U.S. rate Rate of Ratio of
Reserves mate of con- accumula- (rate of Ratio of
In nodules world sumption tion of accumula- (world
Amount at con- land Ratio of of element element tion) conof element sumption reserves (reserves in 1960 4 in nodules (rate of sumption)
In nodules rate of of in nodules) (millions (millions U.S. (U.S.
(billions 1960 2 elements 3 (reserves of tons per of tons per con- conElement of tons) 1 (years) (years) on land) year) year) sumption) sumption)

Magnesium- 25 600,000 s L ------- 0.04 0.18 4.5 2.5
Aluminum-- 43 20,000 100 200 2.0 .30 .15 2.0
Titanium--- 9.9 2,000, 000 L------------- .30 .069 .23 4.0
Vanadium-- 0.8 400,000 L------------- .002 .0056 2.8 4.0
Manganese- 358 400,000 100 4,000 .8 2.5 3.0 8.0
Iron -------- 207 2,000 6 500 4 100. 1.4 .01 2.5
Cobalt ---- 5.2 200,000 40 5 000 .008 .036 4.5 2.0
Nickel --- 14.7 150,000 100 1:500 .11 .102 1.0 3.0
Copper--- 7.9 6,000 40 150 1.2 .055 .05 4.0
Zinc ---- .7 1,000 100 10 .9 .0048 .005 3.5
Gallium- .015 150,000 ----------------------- .0001 .0001 1.0 -----Zirconium--. .93 +100,000 +100 1,000 .0013 .0065 5.0 -----Molybdenum 77 30, 000 500 60 0. 25 .0054 .2 2.0
Silver ---- .001 100 100 1 .006 .00003 .005 -----Lead-.-- 1.3 1,000 40 50 1.0 .009 .009 2.5

1 All tonnages in metric units.
2 Amount available in the nodules divided by the consumption rate.
3 Calculated as the element in metric tons. (From U.S. Bureau of Mines Bulletin 556).
4 Calculated as the element in metric tons.
5 Present reserves so large as to be essentially unlimited at present rates of consumption.
6 Including deposits of iron that are at present considered marginal.
Source: Mero, op. cit., p. 196.

Government involvement in deep ocean mining can be grouped into three major categories. The most common activities are: (1) direct sponsorship. or funding of research and development; (2) direct venture in mining or processing; and (3) indirect sponsorship through use of government facilities, taxation advantages, or university aid.

Government activity in nodule research in the United States has been carried out by the Bureau of Mines, the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Naval Research Laboratory, and the National Science Foundation. Some of the research programs have been discussed previously. The research effort of the Bureau of Mines has involved recovery of metals from nodules. The interests of the U.S. Geological Survey in the deep seabed have been directed mainly toward assessing the mineral potential of nodule deposits and determining their composition and origin. Recently, on February 25, 1975, the Department of Interior announced the formation of an Ocean Mining Administration to develop plans for regulating U.S. ocean mining companies. The research funded by NOAA primarily involves environmental concerns. The Naval Research Laboratory is developing underwater photographic techniques and improved camera technology to provide greater capabilities for future exploration. The National Science Foundation is sponsoring participation by the United States in the International Decade of Ocean Exploration (IDOE). The funding for the IDOE ferromanganese nodule program is mainly being distributed to universities and institutions for research in nodule formation and chemistry.

Several countries are actively interested or engaged in ferromanganese nodule mining. The following is a brief summary of activities reported in recent years.
Australia's Bureau of Mineral Resources has been conducting research on manganese nodules. The naval vessel R/V Diamantina was used to dredge for nodules along a 200-mile stretch of the 39th parallel in June 1972.1
The government of the Federal Republic of Germany supported a joint venture of Preussag and Metallgesellschaft in 1969 to study and
I ECAFE Report of the Committee for Co-ordination of Joint Pro8pecting for Mineral Resources tn South Pacific Off-shore Areas. (CCOP/SOPAC), 1st session, November 1972 (E/CN.i1/L.343), 1972, p. 34.


explore for manganese nodules. Preussage, Metallgesellschaft, Salzgitter and Rheinische Braunkohlenwerke formed Arbeitsgemeinschaft Meerestechnischgewinnbare Rohstoffe (AMR) to carry out exploration cruises in the Pacific under government subsidy. The West German government provided funds to charter Deepsea Venture's R/V Prospector in 1970 and 1971. Since private firms converted a stern trawler to the nodule exploration. vessel, R/V Valdivia, in 1972, the West German Ministry for Education and Science has charted the ship for four years to conduct a comprehensive nodule survey. Several cruises are planned in the nodule belt southeast of Hawaii. A sister ship is being built with government subsidies. The AMR group is also being subsidized for a nodule mining feasibility study.

The Centre National pour l'Exploitation des Oceans (CNEXO) is sponsoring engineering research on a modified version of the CLB mining system. CNEXO in association with Societe Le Nickel has also been engaged in extensive exploration for nodules in the South Pacific in the general vicinity of French Polynesia using the Tahitibased research vessel Le Norit.2 The French Atomic Energy Commission is conducting research on nodule processing techniques.

Government activity in Japan has been extensive in sponsoring nodule exploration and research and development of mining and metallurgical processing. The Industrial Science and Technology Agency subsidized Sumitomo Shoji and Sumitomo Shipbuilding and Machinery in 1968 to conduct tests of a small-scale CLB system. The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) has subsidized the Sumitomo group several times since 1970 to carry out research on and to develop, automatically detachable buckets for the CLB system. Sumitomo Metal Mining received a subsidy in 1972 to construct a test plant and conduct research and development on nodules processing. Government participation will increase with the recently proposed venture of government and industry. Thirty leading Japanese companies have formed a Deep Ocean Mining Association (DOMA) to advise MITT on the technology for mining and processing manganese nodules.3 Funds will be allocated by industry and government in 1976 or 1977. DOMA has a caretaker staff provided by Sumitomo Metal Mining. A sophisticated new mining vessel the Hak[urei Maru, is ready to conduct nodule surveys and DOMA expects to begin commercial operations in 1980.
The Department of Scientific and Industrial Research is studying the distribution and chemical composition of manganese nodules and coatings.4
2 CNEXO annual report, Paris, 1972.
3 Metals Week, June 11, 1973, p. 2.
,ECAFE, op. cit., p. 34


The Soviet Union has been actively engaged in manganese nodule exploration and research since the 1950's. Large numbers of photos and samples of nodules have been obtained. Several technical Papers have appeared in Soviet scientific journals over the years describing the mineralogy, chemistry, and internal structure of the nodules, their distributin and hypotheses of origin.~ Earlier expeditions using the R/V Vitaz, were mainly concentrated in the Pacific and Indian Oceans while later investigations have extended into the Atlantic Ocean. In 1971, the Soviet bloc set up an International Coordinating Center of Marine Exploration in the Soviet Union.
Although the Soviets have dredged many nodule samples f rom the deep seabed for study purposes- there seems to be little progress toward commercial exploitation. One reason may be that the USSR Is essentially self sufficient or a major exporter of the major metals contained in manganese nodules (nickel, copper, cobalt, and manganese). Consequently, developing expensive technology to recover these metals from the deep seabed would not be as pressing a concern to the USSR as it would be to other countries more dependent on imports of these metals.
On the Soviet shelf, low grade manganese nodules have been discovered in the Baltic Sea in the Gulf of Riga. In some areas of the shelf they are reported to exceed 3,500 tons per square kilometer.6

The British Department of Trade and Industry has offered financial support to the two British members of the recently formed Kennecott, group. The British firms are Rio Tinto Zinc Corp. and Consolidated Gold Fields Ltd. These firms would repay the loan if the venture is profitable, and would get first call on their 30 p~ercenlt share of the metals produced.7
Although several Canadian firms including International Nickel Company (INCO), Noranda Mines Ltd., and Cominco Ltd., are participants in international consortia to mine manganese nodules from the ocean floor, no government funds appear to be involved.
rl Skornyakova, N. S. and P. F. Andrusphchenko. Iron-manganese Nodules from the Cerntral Part of the South Pacific. Oceanology, v, 8, n. 5, 1968, pp. 692-701.
6Sovetskaia Latriia, November 24, 19i64, p. 4.
SMetals Week, Feb. 4, 1974, p. 6.

On August 17, 1967, the Permanent Mission of Malta to the United Nations proposed in a note verbale that the 22nd U.N. General Assembly scheduled to convene the following month place on its agenda the following item:
Declaration and treaty concerning the reservation exclusively for peaceful purposes of the seabed and of the ocean floor, underlying the seas beyond the limits of present national jurisdiction, and the use of their resources in the. interests of mankind.
The accompanying explanatory memorandum proposed that the seabed and ocean floor are a common heritage of mankind and the net financial benefits derived from the use and exploitation of the seabed and of the ocean floor shall be used primarily to promote the development of poor countries. The memorandum proposed that an international agency should be created to administer and control exploitation of the seabed beyond the limits of national jurisdiction.
Many countries saw this as a welcome opportunity to gain a share of an immense wealth if the technology could be developed to recover it. As the poorer countries were in no position to develop the expensive and sophisticated technology to exploit the seabed resources, this proposal to benefit directly from the ability of the technologically advanced nations had widespread support. The extent of this wealth was poorly defined, but the developing nations generally assumed that the seabed contained vast resources of oil and minerals that could help bring them to an economic par with the developed nations.
The sudden popularity of the Malta proposal was due to the timeliness of its presentation in the United Nations. The concept had been previously developed by the United States but had received little notice. In 1966, President Johnson said:
Under no circumstances, we believe, must we ever allow the prospect of rich harvest and mineral wealth to create a new form of colonial competition among the maritime nations. We must be careful to avoid a race to grab and to hold the lands under the high seas. We must insure that the deep seas and the owean bottoms are, and remain, the legacy of all human beings..
Although the. U.S. delegation supported the Maltese proposal, the possibility of the United Nations taking immediate action to reserve the seabed beyond national jurisdiction for the common heritage of mankind aroused the concern of many members of Congress. Nearly two dozen resolutions were introduced into Congress during the months of August and September 1967 expressing opposition to the control of deep ocean resources by an international authority. Congressional endor-sements of the Malta proposal were much less numerous.
I Speech z1ven at the commissioning of the research ship Oceanographer, at the Washington Navy Yard on July 13, 1966.


In the House, most of the resolutions relating to this issue were referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs and assigned to the Subcommittee on International Organizations and Movements. Hearings were held in September and October 1967 and jointly with the Subcommittee on Oceanography of the House Committee on Merchant
Marine and Fisheries in June and July 1968. Senate hearings were
held by the Committee on Foreign Relations. There was generally more support. for the Malta proposal in the Senate than in the, House.
Opposition to U.N. action at this time arose from concern that seabed resources were too poorly known' and the United States might be denying itself valuable assets. Delay -was suggested pending the resolution of the entire question of the limits or national jurisdiction. In addition, some doubt was expressed whether the UnAed Nations could effectively administer the vast area of the ocean floor.
Supporters suggested that the Malta proposal would lead to conservation of mineral resources, avoidance of possible conflicts arising from a wild scramble to claim and exploit the seabed, controls on marine pollution, reduced threat of military use of the seabed, in&pendent income for the United Nations, and a general strong honing and maturity in the United Nations through experience gained in administering the ocean floor.

Several committees in the 91st Congress examined issues related to the limits of the continental shelf and jurisdiction of the seabed resources beyond the shelf. The Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Ocean Space, chaired by Senator Claiborne Pell, heard testimony on S. Res. 33. This Resolution, submitted by Senator Pell, proposed a set of basic principles governing g activities of states in developing and exploiting the ocean space. The principles called for the use oi the sealed and subsoil for peaceful purposes only, under licenses issued by authority of the -United Nations; regulations on the disposal of radioactive waste material in the ocean; the establishment. of a Sea Guard under the control of the"U.N. Security Council; and a definition of the limits of the continental shelves.
Hearings were also held by the Special Study on United Nations Suboceanic Lands Policy of the Senate Committee on Commerce. This study group, chaired by Senator Ernest F. Hollings, was formed in July 1969 to consider "the policy which the United States should advocate within the United Nations when that organization considers the ground rules which should apply to those nations which desire to exploit the resources of the deep oceans. 11 4
A third set of hearings was held by the Special Subcommittee on Outer Continental Shelf created by Senator Henry M. Jackson, chair2 U.S. Congress. House. Committee on Foreign Affairs. The United Nations and the Issue of deep ocean resources; Interim report together with hearings. Held by the Subcommittee on International Organizations and Movements of the Committee on Foreign Affairs on H.J. Res. 816 and companion resolutions, Sept. 22, Oct. 10, 19, 25, and 31, 1967. 90th Cong., 1st sess., H. Rept. No. 999. Washington, D.C., U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1967. 289 p.
3 U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Foreign Relations. Governing the use of ocean space. Hearings on S.J. Res. 111, S. Res. 172, and S. Res. 196. Held Nov. 29, 1967. 90th
Cong., 1st sess., Washington. D.C.. U.S. Govt. Print Off- 1967, 71 1).
4 U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Commerce. Special Study on United Nations Suboceanic Lands Policy. Hearings held Sept. 23, 24, Oct. 3, and Nov. 21. 1969. 91st cong., Ist sess., Washington, D.C., U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1970.


man of the Comm-ittee on ]Interior and ]Insular Affairs. This Subcommittee chaired by Senator Lee M;etcalu, oegan a comprehensive series of hearings in 1969 and 1970 to, as Senator Metcalf stated "clarify and make more visibie the issues related to the proper resolution of the questions associated with. the development of a sound shelf and seabed resource policy." 5 Following a closed session with members of the Executive agencies and the scientific community, the Special Subcommittee held several open hearings to consider legal issues, economic issues, industry reaction, views of interested citizens groups, testimony from Members of Congress, Administration policy, and the U.S. draft working paper to the U.N. Seabed Committee. These hearings were systematically analyzed and the findings and conclusions presented in the Subcommittee's report to the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. 6
The Subcommittee adopted the wide-shelf position advanced by the American Bar Association, the National Petroleum Council, and the American Branch of the International Law Association. This interpretation of the 1958 Geneva Convention held that the definition of the seaward limits of the continental shelf contained in the Convention were sufficiently precise and required no amendment. Furthermore, reopening the Geneva Convention might be disadvantageous to the United States as Northeutt Ely, representing the American Bar Association, suggested, "All we know for sure is that a new law of the sea conference will be dominated by nations that have no interest in this subject except to take away from the coastal nations as much of the minerals of the continental margin as they can get." 11 An American Bar Association report presented by Mr. Ely stated, "an agreement carried by a majority of small States might embody principles unacceptable to the United States, yet which would be difficullt to cdisregard if formally adopted by such a conference." 8
Although the Subcommittee on Outer Continental Shelf endorsed the general features of the President's ocean policy statement of May 1970 calling for a seabed treaty and an international authority, strong concern was voiced over the proposed renunciation of sovereign rights of all nations beyond the 2000-meter isobath. The Subcommittee report stated :
Our only areas of initial difference with the President are his suggestions that the United States should renounce its sovereign rights to its continental margin in return for similar, but limited rights in an area designated as a trusteeship zone, and his suggestion that leases applying to areas of the continental shelf beyond the 200-mieter isobath be issued subject to an international regime to be agreed upon * *. To renounce what constitutes the heart of our sovereign rights in response to illegal demands by a handful of nations can only encourage greater violation of the f reedomi of the seas doctrine." With regard to the deep) seabed, the Subcommiittee concluded:
* we are nevertheless as concerned as he [the President] that the American people may derive their fair share of benefits from the exploration and ex5 U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. Outer Continental Shelf. Hearings by Special Subcommittee on Outer Continental Shelf. Parts 1, 2. anid .3, 1969 and 1970. Dist Cong., 1st and 2d qss., Washington. D.C., U.S. G-ovt. Print. Off.. 1970.
6 V.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Interior and] Insular Affairs. Outer Contine'ntal Shelf. Report by the Special Subcommittee on Outer Continental Shelf. Dee. 21, 1970. Committee Print, U.S. Govt. Print. Off.. 222 p).
7 Ib id(., p). S.
R I b id., p. 8.
oIbid., p. 29, 30.


ploitation of the deep seabed beyond the limits of exclusive national jurisdiction. We share with the President the desire that such ocean resources be used rationally and equitably for the benefit of mankind. Rational and equitable use of deep seabed resources requires the establishment of conditions in any future seabed treaty which will encourage investment and insure protected access to those interested in, and capable ofv responsibly undertaking mineral recovery operations."
The President's policy statement formed the basis of the U.S. draft working paper presented to the U.N. Seabed Committee in August 1970. After reviewing the draft, the Subcommittee on Outer Continental Shelf expressed serious doubts about many of its provision& Testimony at subsequent hearings highlighted many of these concerns. Mr. Northcutt Ely, representIng the American Bar Association, stated:
It is manifest that in this proposed treaty we are characterizing as the "common heritage of mankind" resources that, under existing international law, are a major component of the American mineral estate, in which the United States has exclusive sovereign rights exercised by Congress * *. The advantages to the United States visible within the four corner's of this treaty are minimal.n
Mr. John Laylin, representing the Committee on Oceanography of the Section on International and Comparative Law of the American Bar Association, agreed with the proposed licensing concept for exploitation but regarded the provision for licensing exploration as unworkable. He also maintained that the proposed regime was too elaborate and would be prohibitively expensive. Mr. Laylin suggested that the United States should license its own, nationals and recognize the licenses of other countries during the interim period prior to the formation of an international authority, and that a future seabed treaty should preserve the integrity of investments made during the interim period.
Mr. T. S. Ary, Vice President of Union Carbide Exploration Corp., representing the American Mining Congress, presented several suggestions for technical improvements in the U.S. draft working paper. Among the points Mr. Ary raised was that there were far too many fees, rentals and bonuses in the working paper. He suggested a registration rather than a licensing system, and maintained that proprietary information from exploration should not be turned over to an international authority Mr. Ary also suggested that the regime proposed in the working paper was too elaborate and did not provide a secure climate for investments made during the inter* eriod. With regard,
to the interim period, Mr. Ary testified that U74.3 industry was close to being capable of exploiting: the sizable quantities of hard minerals on the seabeds beyond the continental margins, and that domestic
legislation was needed. He indicated that such legislation, if adopted in substantially similar form by other nations, could, through the
neiple of international reciprocity, become the basis for common ru es among nations regarding freedom of development and security of tenure among ocean miners. At that hearing, Senator Metcalf advised Mr. Ary that if the American Mining Congress would prepare legislation on this matter, he would introduced it for circulation and discussion.
The hearings also focused on the Moratorium Resolution of the U.N. General Assembly. In response to a letter from Senator Lee Met10 Ibid., p. 31.
"Ibid., p. 25.

calf questioning the position the State Department would anticipate toward U.S. nationals who express an intention to exploit minerals from the deep seabed, Mr. John R. Stevenson, Legal Advisor, Department of State replied:
The Department does not anticipate any efforts to discourage U.S. nationals from continuing with their current exploration plans. In the event that U.S. nationals should desire to engage in commercial -exploitation prior to the establishment of an internationally agreed regime, we would seek to assure that their activities are conducted in accordance with relevant principles of international law, including the freedom of the seas and that the integrity of their investment receives due protection in any subsequent international agreement.'
Two of the major tasks the report of the Subcommittee on Outer Continental Shelf outlined for further development in the 92nd Congress were:
1. A continuing extensive review of the working paper introduced by the U.S. Delegation at the August 1970 session of the United Nations Seabed Committee with a view toward seeking modifications of it to conform to our interpretation of the President's intent and with our recommendations outlined above.
2. An investigation of the special problem of an interim policy
which would insure continued exploration and exploitation of the natural resources of our continental margin under present law; and would establish appropriate protection for investments related to mineral recovery by U.S. nationals in areas of the deep
seabed beyond the limits of exclusive national jurisdiction.13

The Special Subcommittee on Outer Continental Shelf went out of existence at the end of the 91st Congress but its Members continued to be concerned with deep seabed mineral exploitation. Pursuing the tasks outlined in the Subcommittee report. Senator Lee Metcalf asked Senator Henry M. Jackson, Chairman of the full committee to direct staff members to attend the July-August 1971 sessions of the United Nations Seabed Committee and to report their analysis and findings. Their report, The Law of the Sea Crsis,14 noted with concern that most developing nations generally favored some form of international seabed development monopoly and generally opposed the idea of a system of licensing or concessions advanced by developed countries.
The staff report also expressed the fear that the U.S. delegation was placing major emphasis on military objectives in negotiations. and sacrificing United States interests in seabed resources. The report statedWe recognize that the U.S. free transit proposal was admittedly designed by the Defense Department to enhance U.S. military security. We are also aware of the committee's unfaltering support of the necessity of U.S. naval mobility. We call this fact to the attention of the Committee because we believe that the U.S. free transit proposal may be unattainable and because we fear that the Defense Department might urge the administration to abandon its deep seabed mining objectives and support the creation of an international seabed mining monopoly controlled by less developed nations as a trade-off for the votes of such less
12Ibid., p. 23.
131bid, p. 33.
14 U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. The law of the sea crisis. A staff report on the United Nations Seabed Committee, the outer continental shelf, and marine mineral development. 92d Cong., 1st sess., Committee print, December 1971, Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Office, 1972, 328 p.

65-675 0 76 6


developed nations in favor of the Defense Department-sponsored free transit proposal.
To sacrifice U.S. mineral interests in mining the deep seabed for a perceived military objective is at least debatable; but to sacrifice U.S. mineral objectives in mining the deep seabed for what may be an unattainable military objective is folly, we feel."
The staff report found a strong international trend for a ivide shelf similar to the position taken by the former Special Subcommittee on Outer Continental Shelf. Most coastal nations favored a seaward extension of national jurisdiction to the outer edge of the submerged continental land mass or to 200 miles from shore, whichever is greater. Consequently, there seemed little prospect for adoption of t6 U.S. proposal for nations to renounce sovereign rights beyond the 200-meter depth contour.
The report recommended that the Senate Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs go forward with legislation to encourage U.S. nationals to proceed with the orderly development of seabed resources under the authority of the 1953 Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. The report concluded:
Ample authority under well established law, enables the United States to regulate the activities of its nationals engaged in deep seabed mineral exploitation wherever upon the high seas they may be conducting such operations."s
On November 2, 1971, Senator Metcalf introduced the first deep seabed hard minerals bill, S. 2801. It was cosponsored by Senators Jackson, Allott, Bellmon, and Stevens. An identical bill, H.R. 13904, was introduced into the House on March 20 1972 by Representative Thomas N. Downing and 16 cosponsors. These bills which embodied the legislative recommendations of the U.S. mining interests, authorized the Secretary of the Interior to promote the conservation and orderly development of the hard mineral resources of the deep seabed, pending adoption of an international regime.
Shortly before hearings on these bills were scheduled, observers were sent to the March 1972 session of the U.N. Seabed Committee. Their report 17 warned of the militant stand toward U.S. rights to mine the ocean floor taken by the "Group of 77," the policy caucus of now more, than 100 developing countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The delegate from Chile contended that present seabed exploration and development activities of U.S. companies violated international law. He called for a cessation of such activities by the United States and other countries and urged the U.N. Secretariat to investigate 17,S. ocean mining activities and requested the U.S. delegation to provide the Secretariat with all evidence of seabed mining activities of its nationals. The Chilean delegate also attacked S. 2801 by suggesting that, if enacted, it would establish a policy contrary to international law.
The delegate from Peru endorsed these remarks and threatened the JTnited States and other developed countries with U.N. sanctions unless they assured the Seabed Committee that tbet-e would be no further seabed mining development.
Ir, Ibid., P. 10.
16 [bid., n. 10.
17 F.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. Law of the sea erkk : an IntensifTing polarization. Part II. A Staff Report on the United Nations Seabed Committee, the Outer Continental Shelf and Marine Mineral Development. May 1972. Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1972, 147 p.


The U.S. delegation responded to these charges by stating that U.S. companies were engaged in manganese nodule exploration activities as they have the implied right to do. Furthermore, the sooner such minerals are recovered the sooner mankind will benefit from these resources. The activities of U.S. companies, the U.S. delegate stressed, only emphasize the importance of reaching an international agreement for a seabed regime.
Senators Metcalf and Bellmon also responded to this attack on legislation before the U.S. Congress. Senator Metcalf stated:
We would be most interested to consider their objective analysis of S. 2801 and the relationship between it and the development of a future seabed treaty. But mere threats, claims and demands such as were made at the U.N. last week and made during the debate preceding the adoption of the now defunct Moratorium Resolution will do little to influence us during our consideration of national legislation affecting U.S. nationals.'
Hearings on H.R. 13904 were held by the Subcommittee on Oceanography of the House Committtee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries on May 12, 16, and 25, 1972.19 Hearings on S. 2801 were held on June 2, 1972 by the Subcommittee on Minerals, Materials and Fuels of the Senate Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs.20 Seabed resources were also included in hearings on law of the sea issues by the Subcommittee on International Organizations and Movements of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs,21 the Subcommittee on Oceans and Atmosphere of the Senate Committee on Commerce22 and the Subcommittee on Oceanography of the House Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries.23
Several issues emerged during the hearings on S. 2801 and H.R. 13904, but neither bill was reported out of committee. The major issues developed were as follows:
1. How long will it take to arrive at an internationally agreedupon settlement to the numerous legal/political problems of resource jurisdiction and a seabed regime?
2. What are the technological considerations and what harm
will be done to the American mining industries if they were forced
to wait and lose their present technological lead?
3. What correlation is there between the interim legislation and
stated U.S. ocean policy and resolutions adopted by the United
4. What will be the economic impact of mining seabed nodules
on developing countries or on the United States?
's Metcalf, Lee. Statement by Senator Metcalf. In Remarks of IHenry Bellmon. Congressional Record (daily ed.) v. 118, Mar. 14, 1972. p. S 3929.
19 U.S. Congress. House. Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries. Oceanography miscellaneous. Hearings before the Subcommittee on Oceanography on Deep Seabed Hard Mineral Resources. NACOA Authorization, and Geneva U.N. Seabed Committee, 92d Cong., 2d sess. May 12, 16, 25, and Sept. 14, 26, 1972. Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1972, 273 p.
'o U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. Development of hard mineral resources of the deep seabed. Hearing before the Subcommittee on Minerals, Materials and Fuels on S. 2801. 92d Cong., 2d sess. June 2, 1972. Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1972. 77 p.
21 U.S. Congress. House. Committee on Foreign Affairs. Law of the sea and peaceful uses of the seabeds. Hearings before the Subcommittee on International Organizations and Movements. 92d Cong., 2d sess., Apr. 10 and 11. 1972. Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off.1972. 115 p.
2 U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Commerce. Law of the sea. Learning before the Subcommittee on Oceans and Atmosphere. 92d Cong. 2d sess., Oct. 3, 1972, Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off.. 1972, 137 p.
23 Oceanography Miscellaneous, op. cit., pp. 237-273.


5. What implications will the interim legislation have on U.S.
foreign policy, balance of payments, and foreign aid?
6. How will the legislation affect the environment or interfere
with other marine activities?
The hearings revealed opposition to the proposed legislation by internationally oriented groups and individuals, including several lawyers, a geologist, and a group called Save Our &ea& Legal and business representatives of both tihe petroleum and mining industries strongly supported the interim legislation. Some Members of Congress testified in favor and some opposed.I
The Executive branch maintained that the United States wished to delay taking a specific position on S. 2801 and H.R. 13904. In a letter to Senator Henry M. Jackson, dated May 19, 1972, .John Stevenson, head of the Interagency Task Force on Law of the Sea and Legal Advisor to the State Department, explained:
We are not prepared at this time to state a position on S. 2801. We realize, however, that we cannot indefinitely postpone doing, so on legislation of this type and we will watch the developments in the summer session of the U.N. Seabeds Committee and the U.N. General Assembly session this fall very closely *We will report to you again on this matter in the fall.24
In the fall hearings, the State Department was still not prepared to take a position on S. 2801, citing as a reason prospects for progress in the continuing negotiations in the U.N. General Assembly.
Proponents of the interim legislation cited the investment of several million dollars by U.S. mining companies to develop seabed mining technology over the last 10 years. They warned that this technological lead might be lost to foreign competitors if U.S. firms are not encouraged to proceed to commercial production. American mining interests stated they were hesitant to invest the additional sums of $150 to $300 million necessary to reach commercial production without some security for their mining claims. N. W. Freeman, Chairman of the Board of Tenneco, Inc., of which Deepsea Ventures is a subsi diary, outlined the following considerations rest raining further funding of major operations:
1 Detailed definition of any one of Deepsea 's ore body discoveries will entail extensive, costly, and highly visible operations on location, as will future on-site engineering tests. The location of the ore body will inevitably become public information when
these operations begin.
2. The ore bodies Deepsea, has located which are of economic interest tend to be limited in area due to local phenomena including topography, concentration, and assay. Candidacy is jud-ged by the requirements of a 40-year operation at one million short tons of
dry nodules recovered per year.
3. The candidate ore bodies differ significantly in bearing
strength of the seabed, depth, current and weather conditions, distance from support bases, and assay, composition, size, weight, and concentration of the nodule population. All of these phenomena significantly affect engineering designs, which must be tailored a-8 early a,5 possible to the particular ore body selected. For example, two ore bodies of equal economic value might, according to Deep24 Development of Hard Mineral Resources of the Deep Seabed, op. cit., p. 7.


sea's experience and technology, require quite different processing plant equipment. The processing plant constitutes the largest
single capital cost of the Deepsea ocean mining project.
4. National and international monitoring of environmental impacts, if any, will require inspections during test and development operations thereby making compulsory disclosure of mine site location likely.
Therefore, the extensive costs associated with the particular mine site inust be protected by a preferential right to the selected ore body and that preferential right must vest prior to the time:
(a) The mine site location is compromised,
(b) The engineering design is finalized, and
(c) The construction costs are incurred.25
Another point made by the mining interests was the domestic need for the metals contained in the manganese nodules and our increasing dependence on foreign sources of supply. C. H. Burgess, Vice President, Exploration, Kennecott Copper Corp., cited the April 1972 interim report of the National Commission on Materials Policy entitled, "Toward a National Mineral Policy-Basic Data and Issues", which stated:
That as the nation's needs continue to grow, as per capita consumption of materials in other countries increases at an even faster rate than ours, it becomes increasingly difficult for the U.S. to fill its evergrowing deficits by imports, even at increasing prices."
Mr. Burgess also pointed out that in 1970 the United States imported almost $400 million of nickel, about $600 million of copper, and $35 million of manganese.
The threat of losing not only the technological lead to foreign countries but also the products of commercial seabed operations was also revealed in the following exchange between Senator Metcalf and Jack Flipse, President of Deepsea Ventures:
Mr. METCALF. In your opinion would these foreign countries, some of which have already been outlined by previous witnesses, would they wait until ratification of an international treaty or a United Nations-sponsored regime?
Mr. FLIPSE. It is my conviction that they would not, inasmuch as their expenditures in the area raises from a maximum of 25 percent of the cost to a minimum of no cost. It is this underwriting or subsidy in the foreign area which permits them to move ahead with much less regard for a stable political environment."
Supporters of the bills pointed to the need for interim legislation because of the likely delays in obtaining a new Law of the Sea Convention. They cited the eight years spent in preparation for the 1958 Geneva Conventions that codified customary maritime law and suggested that an even longer period might be needed before a new international treaty: involving unprecedented legal issues would go into effect. They also suggested that the legislation might induce delegations to get down to business in the U.N. Seabed Committee and make progress in negotiations.
Opponents of the legislation expressed the fear that unilateral action by the United States would destroy any hope for successfully negotiat2 Ibid., P. 73.
2I1bid., p. 35.
27Ibid., p. 43.


ing a seabed treaty, and would instead initiate a universal grab for distant offshore claims. They pointed out that S. 2801 and H.R. 13904 are directly opposed to the stated position of the President and the U.S. delegation to the U.N. Seabed Committee. Furthermore, while the U.N. Declaration of Principles and the Moratorium Resolution are not legally binding on any nation, they convey recommendations to governments with the expectation that" U.N. members will abide by them. Opponents were concerned that the provisions of S. 2801 would be characterized as an attempt by the United States unilaterally to claim national jurisdiction over areas of the deep ocean bottom beyond the limits of U.S. national jurisdiction.
Another point raised in opposition to licensing U.S. nationals to develop seabed mining operations was inadequate consideration for the ocean environment. Senator Alan Cranston described the lack of environmental regulation as one of the most important flaws in the bill and stated, "5. 2801 fails to establish procedures by which damages for environmental pollution could be assessed peacefully and fairly."1 28
Lack of environmental data was also cited as a reason for delaying action on the bills. However, preliminary studies were introduced indicating the mining method developed by Deepsea Ventures produced no significant environmental effects. These studies were conducted in the summer of 1970 by scientists of the Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory in 800 meters of water on the Blake Plateau in the Atlantic. Dr. Oswald A. Roels, the principal investigator, stated that under the conditions employed, the discharged water remained in the euphotic zone; was not likely to produce anoxic conditions; and would increase phytoplankton growth (which could lead to increased marine food chain productivity) only if its concentration, after mixing with surface water, exceeded 10 percent, which it did not. Dr. Roels also outlined a program for future research to further assess the environmental impact of seabed mining.
Among the specific objections raised to 5. 2801 and H.R. 13904, Samuel R. Levering of Save Our Seas stated:
1. The size of the blocks (40,000 square kilometers) is too large. 5,000 kilometers should be enough.
2. Total holdings by one licensee of about 400,000 square kilometers within a circle with a diameter of 1250 kilometers again is much too large. This might yield forty times the current annual consumption of nickel. Full implementation of this provision soon might substantially exhaust the possibilities for commercial exploitation of the best nodule sites.
3. The principle of exclusive occuperncy is unnecessary. What is needed is exclusive access for harvesting nodules from the ocean floor by moving machinery.
4. No provision is needed nowv for subsurface mining. Present provision should be limited to operation on or immediately below the deep ocean floor.
5. The license should be to exploit a certain number of tons of nodules over a certain limited number of years (for example, 20 years), not into the far distant future.20
Mr. Levering also suggested that negotiations with other nations leading to mutual restraint is a better way to prevent others f rom "getting ahead" of the United States.
Mr. Frank L. LaQue, former Vice President of International Nickel Co., also criticized the large size of the'licensed blocks and suggested licensing only rights to access to specified quantities of nodules within a
28 Ibid., pp. 20-21.

defined time period. Mr. LaQue recommended that only manganese nodules be considered in any proposed legislation and metalliferous muds or subsurface hard minerals should not be included. In addition, he doubted the likelihood that other "reciprocating states" would be willing to have the terms of their reciprocation dictated by the United States through the mechanism of S. 2801. Consequently, he doubted the real value of the security that the bill is supposed to provide.
An issue that had become a political focal point in the United Nations was also addressed in the hearings. This was the question as to the extent of the- economic impact on the mineral exporting developing countries who would be adversely affected by seabed mining. Studies by the United Nations were submitted indicating:
A possible adverse impact on these [metals] markets would not be catastrophically disruptive to the economies of the countries concerned. Nevertheless, any loss, current or potential, of export revenues to developing countries creates additional problems to their already strained economies in the process of development."0
Several means were proposed for diminishing the impact of seabed mining on the land-based mining industries in developing countries:
1. Artificial control of production from the seabed to keep it at
levels that would not interfere with land production or prices;
2. Global controls, which would not discriminate against seabed
production, for they would presumably apply to producers irrespective of the location of their mines;
3. Limitation on the issuances of exploitation licenses to a rate
judged appropriate to maintain a balance between land and sea
production ;
4. Issue a license for a specified amount of annual production of
metal and to limit the number of such licenses to that necessary
for market and price stability;
5. Impose a drop in price at the expense of producing countries; 6. Compensatory payments by the international machinery to
the countries affected by the declines in export revenues; and
7. Providing preferential technical assistance to developing
countries adversely affected by seabed production to help them
broaden their economic base.

During the 93d Congress, the issue of deep seabedI hard minerals exploitation took several turns. The interplay between the deliberations of the Congressional Committees and 'the negotiations in the U.N. Seabed Committee became more intensified. As a result of develop~ments in the Seabed Committee and testimony before the Conlgressional Committees, sponsors of the legislation introduced several changes in the bills during the second session.

The D~eep Seabedl Hard Mineral,- lResources Act was r-vinitrodu lced into the 93d Congress as 11.11. 9 onl Januaryal 3, 1973 by Represenitativ Thomas N.. Downing, and the, identical comipanlion, bill. S. 113-1,
-'0U.*N. General Assembly. Possible impact of seabed mineral production In the area beyond national jurisdiction on world markets, with special reference to the problems of developing countries: a preliminary assessment. A/AC.i38/36. May 28. 1971. p. 65.


on March 8, 1973 by Senator Lee Metcalf. The House held hearings on March 1, 28, 29, and April 3, 1973 .31 The Senate heari igs
were held May 17, June 14, 15, 18, and 19, 1973. In their testimonies, most of the interest groups maintained much the same positions as taken in the previous Congress. However, in contrast to the hearings in the 92d Congress in which the Administration witnesses did not take a position on the legislation, Mr. Charles N. Brower, Acting Legal Advisor and Acting Chairman of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Law of the Sea, in letters dated March 1, 19735 informed Representative Leonor K. Sullivan, Chairman of the House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee and Senator Henry M. Jackson, Chairman, Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, of the Administration's opposition to H.R. 9 (Appendix A). Mr. Brower maintained that H.R. 9 was premature and that the Administration adhered to the policy contained in the President's Ocean Policy Statement of May 23,1970, in which the President proposed that all nations adopt, as soon as possible, a treaty establishing an international regime for the exploitation of seabed resources -beyond the 200 meter depth.
Ii) addition, he reiterated the President's statement that it was neither necessary nor desirable to try to halt exploration and exploitation of the seabeds during the negotiation process, provided that such activities are subject to the international regime to be agreed upon, which should include due protection of the integrity of investments made in the interim period.
Mr. Brower expressed the belief that with the Law of the Sea negotiations moving into a critical stage, it is necessary for States to be very careful to avoid actions that can have an adverse effect on the negotiating atmosphere. He further stated:
It is apparent that H.R. 9 independent of the particular content or merits of the Bill, has become a symbol to many countries of defiance of the multilateral negotiating process. Regardless of our views on the intent and effect of the legislation, it may be argued by others that the legislation is similar to unilateral claims that Nve oppose and that are contrary to our security, navigation and resource interests, and moreover preempts the Law of the Sea Conference on this
,,,a 33
Finally, he stated that while the Administration intended to begin at once to formulate a legislative approach on a contingency basis, the Administration did not seek the passage of alternative legislation prior to the conclusion of the Conference, if a timely and successful. Conference were predictable. He defined a "timely and successful Conference" to mean a Conference which would arrive at a Convention, including a seabed regime, which would be open for signature in 1974 or, at the latest, not later than the summer of 1975.
On the other hand, some sponsors of the legislation began to take a less optimistic view of progress in the, United Nations. In commenting on the endless and seei inglv unproductive negotiating sessions of the U.N. Seabeds Committee, Congressman Downing, Chairman of
31 U.S. Congress. House. Committee on 'Merchant, Marine and Fisheries. Deep seabed hard minerals. Hearings before the Subcommittee on Oceanography on H.R. 9 and H.R. 7732. 93d Cong. Mar. 1. 28, 29 Apr. 3, 1973, and H.R. 122,33 Feb. 26, 27, 28, 1974. Washington, D.C., 13.8. Govt. Print. Off., 1974, 513 p.
32 U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. Mineral resources of tile a ep ,eabed. Hearings before the Subcommittee on Minerals, Materials and Fuels on S. 1134. 93d Cong., 1st sess. lklay 17, June 14, 15, 18, and 19, 1973. Washington, D.C., U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1973, 768 p.
83 Appendix A.


the Subcommittee on Oceanography, House Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries stated:
Since the committee first addressed itself to this interim legislation, the international negotiations, which have so long dominated administration policy on marine resources, have seemingly receded even farther into the future. Little was accomplished in 1972 negotiations except the production of a conference agenda of doubtful content and a few items of proposed treaty "language" of somewhat dubious utility. The nature of these items, and particularly the last minute timing of their production, may easily lead one to believe that their accomplhhment is more cosmetic than substantive in intent and effect.
The 1973 Conference on Law of the Sea has now become the 1974-75 Conference to be preceded by a short organizational exercise in late 1973.
The Seabed Committee, sitting for 2 years as a conference preparatory committee, after a previous 3 years of general debate, has not produced even a minimum amount of proposed treaty language upon which to structure negotiation in the Conference. It only has some 65 scheduled days in 1973 to do so. If it cannot, and I believe that it cannot, the November-December 1973 United Nations General Assembly has the authority and responsibility to delay Conference plans for another year or more.
In the face of continual delay and disruption at the U.N., domestic interests continue to suffer disadvantage and administration neglect * *. Our ocean miners are frustrated in their plans to develop highly desirable alternate metal sources because investment capital is difficult to secure in a politically emotional legal atmosphere. * *
These miners are now ready to make substantial investments leading to actual mining operations. This investment must not be inhibited by the irresponsible actions of materials-exportifig countries using the U.N. as a mechanism to prevent the United States from developing alternative sources of copper and other critical metals.
It is time for the United States to protect its national interest and to reaffirm strongly its commitment to the principle that deep ocean resources should remain available to all nations and should not become the monopolized resource of any one entity-private, public, or international. * This legislation has a potentially beneficial effect on domestic revenue, balance of payments, materials availabilities, ocean technology, and many other facets which may very well outweigh considerations related to our international relationships.'
The State Department response to Senator Jackson and Representative Sullivan was also conveyed to delegates in the U.N. Seabed Committee by the head of the U.S. delegation, Mr. John Norton Moore. He informed the other delegations that the Executive Branch opposed the passage of U.S. seabed legislation at this time although thev could not rule out the alternative of interim legislation if a Law of the Sea Conference is not concluded as scheduled and does not produce a treaty that assures an accommodation of the basic objectives of all nations. He pointed out that the Administration was keenly aware of the lack of confidence many people have in the timely and satisfactory progress of the U.N. Seabed Committee and the need of U.S. companies to secure a more stable base for seabed investments. Using these points as leverage, Mr. Moore pressed the Seabed Committee to maintain its schedule. He also stressed the need to prepare for the provisional entry into force of an internationally agreed regime immediately after a law of the sea treaty is opened for signature. Ie suggested that this would be necessary to ensure that all seabed exploitation is covered from the beginning by the treaty "so that states will not have to consider other alternatives to resolve the problem."
This proposal to the U.N. Seabed Committee for an interim regime was then reported to the House Subcommittee on Oceanography in

"Deep Seabed Hard Minerals, op. cit., pp. 11, 12, 13.


the March 28 hearing. In the June 14 hearing of the Senate Subcommitee n MnerlsMaterials and Fuels, Mr. Moore reported on the favorable response to the U.S. proposal. He stated that of the 20 delegations which spoke to the proposal no delegation opposed the concept. This response was cited as an example of satisfactory progress in difficult negotiations.
In response to Senator Metcalf, Mr. Moore then amplified the Administration's position that passage of legislation for seabed hard mineral mining would not be advisable from the standpoint of the Law of the Sea negotiations even if it ~were not to become effective until January 1, 1976. He repeated the premise that such action would be viewed by many delegations as a thinly veiled threat of unilateral action by the United States to pressure others into an agreement on our terms.
Senator Metcalf still maintained a -neutral stance in his sponsorship of S. 1134. In his opening remarks in the May 17, 1973 hearings, Senator Metcalf stated:
I emphasize that my sponsorship of S. 1134 does not imply my support of all of its provisions. The predecessor bill grew out of the appearance by representatives of the American Mining Congress before my special subcommittee on the Outer Continental Shelf in September of 1970. At that time, as our hearing records will show, I told industry witnesses that I would introduce their proposals for circulation and discussion. That was my position when I introduced S. 2801. It is my position today. I am not committed to this particular bill nor to any part of it. But 1, and the members of this subcommittee are ready to be convinced.'M
Among the supporters of the proposed -legislation was Mr. T. S. Ary, vice president of Union Carbide Exploration Corporation, and representative of the American Mining Congress. He pointed out the balance-of-payments deficit for primary minerals would reach $64 billion by the year 2000 assuming only 1970 prices, lie suggested that encouraging investment in nodule mining would lead to technological breakthroughs which would carry over into other aspects of U.S. industry. He also expressed the fear that by delaying seabed mineral recovery, the United States would lose its technological lead and cornpet itivye advantages.
In defending specific points in the legislation, Mr. Ary testified that the lease payment was not too small. He stated: We feel that the amount of money is fair, the risk is great and during the exploration stage the risk is being assumed by the company. If the amount of money is too low you will have a speculative group come into the operation. in our discussions we have suigge-sted that a nominal amount be required for the exploration license but that work requirements involved be of a substantial nature so you do not sit on the blocks.'
Mr.Aryconceeded that the oenmining industry woulonyed
miig areas beyond the continental rise so that any redefinitio o
the deep seabed in the bill to avoid conflict with discussions over boundaries of national jurisdiction would be acceptable. lie also had no objection to deleting the concept of subsurface blocks because there is no present need to re ( ul ate these.
Mr. Edwin M. Hood, President and Board Chairman, Shipbuilders Council of America spoke to the need of the shipbuilding industry for assured availability of the metals contained in manganese nodules. He
3r MAineral Resoprees of the Deep Seabed. op. cit., p. 81. 36 Deep Seabed Hard Minerals, op. cit., p. 284.


also stressed the beneficial impact construction of nodule mining ships and ore carriers would have on the U.S. shipbuilding industry.
In testimony before the Subcommittee on Minerals, Materials and Fuels, Dr. Richard A. Geyer, head of the Department of Oceanography, Texas A. & M. University and former vice chairman of the Stratton Commission, urged passage of S. 1134. He discounted the possible environmental damage from ocean mining as being insignificant compared to that caused by naturally occurring large-scale oceanographic phenomena such as turbidity currents and natural upwelling. Dr. Geyer concluded:
After studying the provisions of this bill, I am convinced that it represents an excellent vehicle to implement most effectively a number of those recommendations of the Commission on Marine Science, Engineering, and Resources-more commonly known as the Stratton Commission-directed toward the development of ocean mining in general and manganese mining in particular.7
In testimony before the House Subcommittee on Oceanography, John E. Flipse, President of Deepsea Ventures, Inc., discussed several points which had been questioned by Committee members. He explained that the minesite size of 10,000 square kilometers for the purposes of exploitation is barely adequate for a mining operation scaled to the recovery of one million tons of dry nodules per year, assuming the nodule concentration of about two pounds per square foot and a recovery efficiency within the present capability of technology. He stated:
Realistic estimates of dredging accessibility and efficiency, sweep efficiency, and the cut off grade of actual minesites indicate an overall mining recovery efficiency of well below 50 percent of the nodules on the minesite. * Our calculations indicate that a 1 million ton operation is the minimum efficient size to take advantage of existing economies of scale and engineering efficiency.'
Mr. Flipse pointed out that while the work requirements during the exploration or development period are minimal in the scale of real costs to be incurred in ocean mining development, they are considered by industry sufficient to preclude speculative paper-claim filing but small enough to allow minimum-size operations to meet the legislative requirements. Mr. Flipse also acknowledged that the investment guarantee period of 40 years may be excessive. He stated:
I think 40 years was chosen originally because, based upon Internal Revenue Code, financial commitments were going to be written off on pier facilities. buildings, main plant facilities, over a 40-year period. This was the basis for this number being selected for the guarantee. I feel that some of us are ready to accept a lesser period although the drafters and the Mining Congress still feel that the 40 years is a reasonable time period, based upon the durability of a fair proportion of this equipment.,
Mr. Flipse also informed the Subcommittee that based on Deepsea Ventures' determinations, 20 to 30 percent of the deep ocean floor has economically developable deposits. He stated that it. would take approximately 5 years from the day the bill is passed before processed metals reached the market. Furthermore, in 5 years or more if an international regime went into effect, his company would have recovered only a fraction of a thousandth of a percent of the economic deposits.
Among the opponents of the legislation was Mr. Leigh Ratiner. former Director, Office of Ocean Resources, Depatment of the Inte" Mineral Resources of the Deep Seabed, op. cit., p. 336. 38 Deep Seabed Hard Minerals, op. cit., p. 87.
sm Ibid., p. 89.


rior. He raised the objection of getting locked into a specific resource management scheme which details block sizes, tenure, work requirements, fees, royalties, and so forth. Mr. Ratiner stated the problem as follows:
We would need to assemble a large data base of information about the technology, the metallurgy, and the costs of doing business in order to establish any degree of real precision for the purpose of legislation, which has a tendency to endure, sometimes even beyond the point when the information it was based on was still credible and still up to date. We would want to be very sure we had adequate data. For the moment it is fair to say that we do not have adequPte data."
Mr. Ratiner also pointed out that industry is virtually the sole source of this information, the U.S. Geological Survey has neither the funds nor the capability to do the kind of oceanwide survey which would be required in order to have first-hand knowledge and information.
.,,%fr. Ratiner questioned the immediate necessity of passing interim legislation. Based on 1971 data, lie pointed out, the United States spent $600 million importing metals contained in manganese nodules and that amounted to 1.3 percent of'our total import. He recognized that this is likely to increase but felt that a delay of a year or two to await a provisional T-T.N. regime woilld not greatly affect our balanceof-payments situation.
Mr. Marne A. Dubs, representing the American Mining Congress exposed the other side of the deficient data argument. Ile stated that if full-scale mining were to begin during the interim period before an international treaty is concluded sound technical information could be gathered to help create sensible regulations in the future regime. "Hard information," he said, "can only come from a successful fullscale mining operation which in turn requires this legislation in order to commence. 11 41
Mr. Dubs also expressed reservations about the value of the State Department's proDosal to the TT.N. Seabed Committee for a provisional regime. He stated:
One problem with the provisional regime is that it might have far less than universal acceptance. This might create serious problems for an organization operating under its umbrella. It also should be noted that it is unlikely that the details of such a provisional regime could be worked out and put into force any earlier than a year after conclusion of the convention.
The hearings of the Senate Subcommittee on Minerals, Materials and Fuels on June 18, 1973 were scheduled to hear spokesmen for the environmental groups. In his opening statement, Senator Metcalf remarked:
You will recall that when I was chairman of the Special Subcommittee on the Outer Continental Shelf we scheduled a hearing for *Nfay 13, 1970, to hear witnesses representing the interests of what was then called "conservation.,, That was before conservationists became environmentalists.
We had no witnesses, but statements were submitted by, among others: Charles H. Callison, executive vice president of the National Audubon Society; Thomas L. Kimba*ll, executive director of the National Wildlife Federation, and Richard H. Stroud, executive vice president of the Sport Fishing Institute.
I am glad to know that in the intervening 3 years the environmentalists have been able to turn their attention to this complex subject.
When mining industry witnesses appeared before this subcommittee last month, I asked them a series of questions about environmental protection. You were
#0 Mineral Resources of the Deep Seabed, op. cit., p. 236.
41 Ibid., p. 114.
42 Ibid., P. 119.


furnished with copies of the replies. These included the allegation that the area to be mined is "biologically barren" and that "the impact of deepsea nodule mining on biological processes will probably be minimal".
I also hope that you have statistics or studies to back up your statements and that you will share them with this committee, which shares your concern about our environment.
And, of course, should you have suggestions for amendments to this bill, or legislative proposals of your own, we want them."
Mr. Carl R. Sullivan, Executive Secretary of the Sport Fishing Institute, thought that the bill was too broad and that it should be narrowed somewhat to preclude any type of mining that might involve blasting or exposure of toxic materials under the seabed. He also suggested that, although it does not appear likely to occur, any shipboard processing would require a special set of environmental considerations and careful monitoring to prevent the discharge of toxic chemicals into the sea. He further stated:
Nowhere in this bill does it mention where the processing of the ore will be done. I think again there might be financial incentives to have it done in a so-called "developing nation" that had environmental constraints much less stringent than ours, where they can save money by avoiding some of the pitfalls that might be required on U.S. soil.
We believe it should be stated and we believe that the processing of the oreunless there are compelling political reasons-should be ddne on U.S. soil someplace."
Mrs. Nancy Matisoff, speaking for the Izaak Walton League of America, informed the Subcommittee that one of the primary concerns of their organization is the lack of definitive and comprehensive data of the effects of deep sea mining operations on surface and bottom life. She suggested that the present bill was seriously deficient in its treatment of the need for ocean and technological research and called for a full-scale research program in this area.
Speaking for several environmental groups including the Sierra Club and the Environmental Defense Fund, Mr. Richard Frank of the Center for Law and Social Policy objected to the proposed legislation for two reasons. First, he believed passage of the bill would jeopardize the possibility of effective international agreement on preserving the quality of the ocean environment. Second, he maintained that no action should be taken until a comprehensive environmental impact statement is prepared by the Executive Branch.
Dr. John J. Logue, Director, World Order Research Institute, Villanova University, testifying on behalf of World Federalists, U.S.A.. suggested that the $5.000 long-term leasing fee to mine 40.000 square kilometers of ocean floor is far too low. Furthermore, he argued that the U.S. government does not, in his opinion, have the authority to grant such leases. He also suggested that passage of the Deep Seabed Bill would impede future ratification of a seabed treaty by the Senate because of the possibility of then having to pay $400 to $500 million compensation to our own mining companies.
Professor L. F. E. Goldie, Director. International Legal Studis Program, Syracuse University College of Law, took exception to Smole of Dr. Logue's comments and pointed out that U.S. citizens as vell as anyone else have the right to the common heritage of mankind. He said:
48 Ibid., pp. 305. 306.
Ibid., p. 310.


We citizens of the United States, I will remind many people, are also mankind. They [the high seas beyond national jurisdiction] are part of our common property and we are entitled to exercise our individual rights to the common resources. We can graze our cows. We can take our water from the common wells just like any other common holder of common rights."
Professor Goldie also suggested that the escrow section of the bill be strengthened to include not only developing countries who participate in their regimes, but all countries. Professor Goldie further stated:
I would like to point out that technology I& exportable. It Is salable. I see no reason why Monaco could not apply, let us say, the technology of deep sea mining or Luxembourg, provided they can reach some kind of an agreement for that kind of purchase. Or let us step outside of Europe altogether. There are countries who no doubt could through the World Bank assistance purchase the technology that we have developed or other countries have developed and engage in deep sea mining. It is not simply a matter of a closed club of the so-called northern developed countries."
In the conclusion of a paper submitted for the record, Professor Goldie summarized the legality and I filing procedure for deep seabed mining claims. In the paper he stated:
Independently of Congress's enactment of the Deep Seabed Hard Minerals Act, enterprises way prove and develop mining tracts on the deep seabed of a reasonable size. Translating "reasonable" into factual claims would depend on a number of criteria including the nature of the resources to be won and their distribution, equitable considerations of other claims to win the same resource, and what could be considered as within the scope of a possessory intent and control on part of the enterprise. These rights are not subject to impairment through any disparagements advanced under the United Nations Assembly"s 1969 Moratorium Resolution or 1970 Declaration of Legal Principles.
Deep seabed mining claims should be recorded by filing with the Foreign Office of a claimant's country of nationality all documents necessary to show title. These should include a Deed Poll announcing to the world the recording enterprise's claim, a surveyor or navigator's' description of the tmet in terms of fixes, bearings and distances, evidence of possession and of continued active exploitation of the resource, an intent to assert exclusive rights to exploit the mineral resources of the tract and testimony that the enterprise was "first in time". These specific acts reflect the good faith intention of giving adequate notice of the making of a claim, in the absence of giving adequate notice of the making of a claim, in the absence of relevant and applicable statutes and treaties. The purpose is to give the most practical available means of effectively publicizing an enterprise's claim, thereby putting all interested parties on notice (i.e., the notice was there and available to the world had any adverse claimant but taken reasonable steps to inform themselves of the facts).47
Although, as described above, a private enterprise could proceed independently of congressional action, there is much more security in operating 'within the confines of a specific document than by actions drawn f rom inferences of past conduct.
Numerous studies were introduced into the record during the hearings highlighting the increasing U.S. dependence on foreign sources of the metals contained in manganese nodules. One study prepared by Nancy P. Petersen and John R. Justus of the Conaressional Research Service, Library of Congress, for the House Subcommittee on Oceanography included the data in Table 20:

45Ibid., p. 488.
"Aid., p. 489.
VIM., p. 527-428.

TABLE 20.-CHANGlNG IMPORT REQUIREMENTS OF THE UNITED STATES IN et i mports as a percent of domestic use]lI
Commodity 1950 1960 1970 1971
Manganese--------------------------------------- 77 92 94 96
Cobalt ------------------------------------------ 92 75 96 75
Nickel ------------------------------------------ 99 88 91 66
Copper---------------------------------------- 35 9 8 6
1 Net imports include semirefined forms.
Sources: (1) Final report of the National Commission on Materials Policy. Washington: June 1973. p. 2.23. (2) "The Stockpile Problem." American Mining Congress. Washington: June 1973. p. 4.
Again both subcommittees refrained from pressing action on the legislation in order to await the final report of the United Nations Seabed Committee and the initiation of the Law of the Sea Conference.

Finally, on January 28, 1974, Senator Metcalf and 6 cosponsors introduced Senate Amendment No. 946 in the nature of a substitute for S. 1134. This~j legislation was first introduced as a new bill, S. 2878, on January 23, 1974, and referred to the Committee on Commerce. Consequently, in order to continue hearings in the Commnittee on Interior and Insular Affairs, Subcommittee on Minerals, Materials and Fuels, the sponsors introduced the same bill as A-mendment No. 946 to S. 1134. The companion bill, H.R. 12233, was introduced into the House by Representative Thomas Downing and 12 cosponsors. Hearings were held by the House Subcommittee on Oceanography on February 26, 27, and 28, 1974 .48 The Senate Subcommittee on Minerals, Materials and Fuels held hearings the following week.49
In the Senate hearings, Subcommittee Chairman Metcalf stated:
Our staff rewrote this legislation to meet the major objections of responsible spokesmen at previous hearings. As far as I know, the perfect piece of legislation has yet to be drafted. I am among those who have questions about the material before us. This, of course, is the reason for legislative hearings.60
A number of basic changes were incorporated into Amendment No. 946 so that it differed significantly from S. 1134. Among the changes made were:.
(1) Establishment of a moratorium on commercial development
until January 1, 1976, to allow adequate time for international agreement through the Law of the Sea Conference according to the time frame regarded as adequate by Adiministration
(2) Elimination of the subsurface block concept so that the
leased area includes only the seabed and subfloor to a depth of 1(0
meters below the water-sediment interface.
(3) Narrowing the definition of hard minerals to ferroianiganese nodules or accretions.
48 Deep Seabed Hard Minerals, op. cit., pp. 355-513. "~ U.S. Congress, Senate, Committee On Interior andI Tnsuilar Affairs. Mineral Resouirces of the Deep Seabed. Hearings before the Subcommittee on Minerals, Materials and FuielS Oil Amendment No. 946 to S. 11:34. 93d Cong., 2d sess. Mlar. 5, 6, and 11, 1974. Washington. D.C., U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1974, Part II, pp. 769-1355. 11Ii- p. 795.


(4) Elimination of the concept of reciprocating States which
were defined as States having similar legislation or with which the
United States establishes a comparable interim policy.
(5) Elimination of the escrow fund which was derived from
part of the license fees and tax revenues from deep seabed mining operations to provide financial assistance to developing reciprocating States.
(6) Elimination of the concept of an international registry
clearinghouse to record licenses and keep records and place this
function with the Secretary of the Interior.
(7) Raising of the license fee f rom $5,000 to $50,000.
(8) Reduction of the license terin to 10 years and, where commercial recovery begins within 10 years, the license is in force so long as commercial recovery continues but not to exceed 20 more years. This differed from the previous provisions of a 15-year license term and no expiration for the duration of commercial
(9) Limiting to 5 the number of licensed blocks held at one
time during the first 5 years.
(10) Requiring application for separate exploration and commercial licenses.
(11) Providing for public access to information -via public
hearings on license applications.
The new legislation appeared to be much more independent in its nature in that it tended to eliminate many of the provisions that related to foreign countries. It was also a tighter, bill in that it incorporated a number of additional restrictions, reduced the scope of the licenses, and allowed a time period for international agreement to be reached before permitting commercial recovery.
In registering impatience over the lack of -Progress by the Administration in international negotiations and pointing out the increasing need to support American interests in deep seabed minerals, Senator Metcalf commented:
That's the last we've heard from President Nixon on this subject, which he said-or was quoted as saying-on May 23. 1970 was "urgent." I'm paraphrasing the quotation. He was quoted as saying that "the issue arises now-and with urgency." I suggest there may be something less than urgent about that 4-yearold urgency in the mind of the President. His inability or unwillingness to act are in sharp contrast to the Government of at least one other major developed powerthe United Kingdom.
In the opinion of some Members of Congress, and I am among them, we should support the efforts of American industry to go after these minerals vital to our economy. On the basis of information available to us now, our support certainly need not go so far as that of the United Kingdom-but American industry may be able to make such a case. in any event. they should have something more to go on than a hollow statement from the President that he, almost 4 years ago, did not believe it either necessary or desirable to try to halt exploration and exploitation of the seabeds beyond the depth of 200 meters while we seek international agreement on who shall develop seabed resources.
Of course, it would be preferable to carry forward such exploration and development under an international agreement. But I am realistically pessimistic about our ability to achieve such an agreement in an assembly dominated by the world have-nots, whose primary interest in the seabed demonstrated to date is the intent to rip off what they can from the handful of developed nations with the wherewithal to develop these seabed minerals.
Time is running out for our economy unless we flnd new sources of the minerals we must have-and soon. I feel this Congress would make a horrible

mistake if we were not to do what we can to help our nationals develop the minerals we need-at least to exert some measure of control over them, pending international agreement.'
Although Administration spokesmen still could not support enactment of the bill for diplomatic reasons, they did find many of the new provisions acceptable. Accordingly, Mr. John Norton Moore, Chairman, National Security Council's Interagency Task Force on Law of the Sea, and Deputy Special Representative of the President to the Law of the Sea Conference, testified: We agree with the underlying premise of the bill that by January 1, 1976, there must be an adequate legal regime for deep seabed mining under an internationally agreed regime in force on a provisional basis or, if this is not possible, then under appropriate legislation. In either event, we will support appropriate legislation regarding the conduct of U.S. nationals and the role of Federal agencies. We are mindful in this regard that U.S. firms are making substantial investments in deep seabed mining and are rapidly approaching the point where they must make even greater investment decisions.52
In addition to adversely affecting the progress of the Law of the Sea negotiations, Mr. Moore enumerated four other points of disagreement dealing with the substance of the bill. First, he objected to the provision of licensing before 1976. He suggested that some nations might regard exclusive exploration rights as an attempt to preempt international negotiations rather than the intended objective of establishing some domestic priority among U.S. nationals.
The second point Mr. Moore raised dealt with the lack of flexibility in the bill to deal with the U.S. proposal for provisional application of an internationally agreed regime. He said that domestic legislation should be prepared to implement a provisional regime "very soon in 1975."
Third, the guarantee and insurance provisions of the bill would require the U.S. Government to assume liability to private investors for the Government's exercise of normal treaty-making powers. This would also place the Government in the role of a direct insurance underwriter when this function should belong to the private sector.
Finally, Mr. Moore conveyed the position of the executive branch that there are serious problems with the resource management provisions of the bill. Specifically. there are no provisions for royalties, or other revenues, flags of convenience, safety of life at sea, and marking and lighting of offshore mining facilities. He also suggested that there are problems with the environmental aspects of the bill that would need further study.
Representatives of industry took issue with the points raised by the executive branch. In a letter to Senator Metcalf, John E. Flipse, President of Deepsea Ventures, listed 32 examples of programs whereby the Federal Government provided relief insurance or guaranty pools for 1)rivate investment. Furthermore, the industry viewpoint of the insurance provisions of the bill was that they only applied to loss through political interference, but did not provide comn plete coverage against loss of profit or against a wide range of damages.
In commenting on the new bill, Marne A. Dubs, speaking in behalf of the American Mining Congress and Kennecott Copper Corporation, did not object to elimination of the subsurface block concept and the escrow fund. Ife stated that industry looked with mixed views
U Ibid., P. 798-799, 836.
52 Ibid., p. 930-981.

65-576 0 76 7


on the moratorium on commercial recovery before January 1, 1976. With regard to elimination of the reciprocating state concept, Mr. Dubs stated:
The elimination of the reciprocating state concept is a more serious matter, and we strongly urge the retention of this principle. It is this principle more than any other which operates "to promote the conservation and orderly development of hard mineral resources of the deep seabed." This principle tells all nations that the United States intends to cooperate with and take into account the operations of other nations. It states that the Congress of the United States, while passing what may appear to some to be narrowly nationalistic legislation, has in fact mandated a method of easily adjusting to the needs of other nations also anxious to utilize the resources of the deep seabed."
Mr. Dubs praised the redrafted bill for eliminating many of the generalities and nonspecificity of the regulatory provisions of the, original bill. However, he suggested spelling out further the items for which the Secretarv should promulgate rules and regulations. These would include:
1. Eligibility of applicants for license; 2. Licensing procedures (mechanics) ;
3. Procedures relating to work requirements;
4. Environmental procedures; 5. Multiple use questions; and
6. Definition and handling of and reporting-of data.
He also suggested requiring the Secretary to issueregulations within 90 days and eliminating the time consuming requirement for public hearings on each license application. Mr. Dubs strongly recommended restrictions on the public disclosure of exploration data and mineral technology.
Spokesmen for environmental groups maintained their opposition to enacting any deepsea mining legislation at this time. Mr. Richard A. Frank speaking for the Environmental Defense Fund, the Sierra Club and other groups, repeated his basic position of the previous session. He maintained that the -marine environment could be effectively protected only through international agreement. He did note that the new -bill provided for more consideration of environmental questions. Mr. Samuel R. Levering of the U.S. Committee for the Oceans restated most of his previous objections and concluded that the bill was entirely unnecessary and would not accomplish its purpose of security of investment.
Again the record contained ample documentation of the U.S. depend-. ence on foreign mineral supplies. Two U.S. Bureau of Mines charts inserted into the hearinLys of the Subcommittee on Minerals, Materials and Fuels pointed out &at 1973 imports of raw and processed minerals exceeded exports by $8 billion. Articles describing the Intergovernmental Council of Copper Exporting Countries (qIPEC) and drawing attention to. the potential for controlling mineral markets by exporting countries were also inserted.
A study presented in a Department of State memorandum dated January 22, 1974, concluded that over the next 3 to 5 years the likelihood 4 a group of raw materials producers (other than oil) joining forces against the major consumers to influence their behavior for olitical purposes is negligible. The memorandum states that the proucer countries could drive up prices but probably will not manage to
53 Ibid., p. 1018.


seriously restrict supplies other than copper and bauxite. The final conclusion presented in the memorandum states: Although the risks that we shall have to deal with serious restrictions of supply in the next two or three years are small, they are not negligible and in the longer run U.S. dependence on foreign sources of raw materials is likely to increase. We should consider appropriate steps to reduce the possibility and effectiveness of aggresive action by producers to deprive us of adequate supplies.'
Sensing that the Administration may be regarding the Deep Seabed Hard Minerals Act less than seriously, on June 3, 1974 Senator Lee Metcalf and Representative Thomas N. Downing sent a letter to the Secretary of Commerce, Frederick B. Dent (Appendix B) inquiring about the Administration's legislative approach on nodule mining announced 15 months earlier and what progress has been made on preparing an ocean mining environmental impact statement before the end of 1975 to serve as part of the governmental decision making process. The reply (Appendix C) indicated that NOAA was starting to implement plans for a 3-year Deep Ocean Mining Environmental Study.
Two months later, on August 21, as the first substantive session of the Law of the Sea Conference was sputtering to a close without producing anything of much substance, the Senate Interior Committee reported S. 1134, the Deep Seabed Hard Minerals Act, with Amendment No. 946 in the nature of a substitute as amended. Senate Report 93-1116 (reintroduced into the 94th Congress as S. 713, Appendix D). The amendments to Amendment No. 946 are interesting in that many of the original provisions of S. 1134 were restored or reinstated in a modified form as follows:
(1) Restores the reciprocating State concept but does not revive
the escrow fund.
(2) Restores the license term to 15 years and if commercial recovery begins by then, for the duration of commercial recovery
with no time limit..
(3) Provides protection for proprietary information. deletes
the provision for public hearings, and speeds up the decision
making period for granting licenses.
(4) Removes the limit on the number of blocks held simultaneously.
(5) Restores the international registry clearinghouse concept.
(6) Raises the schedule of minimum annual expenditures required to maintain a license prior to commercial recovery.
(7) Extends the time limit for relinquishment of 75 percent
of the block from 10 years to 15 years.
(8) Further defines the limits of compensation for loss related
to differing requirements of a future international regime.
(9) Provides for the formation of consortia by limiting U1nited
States guarantee insurance and compensation to the portion of
the interest owned by U.S. interests.
These amendments to the bill. as reported out of committee, reflect many of the findings and substantive suggestions for improvement brought out in the preceding hearings. In general, the amendments make the conditions for deep seabed development more favorable for U.S. developers.
By unanimous consent, on September 4, 1974. the Senate took S. 1134 from the calendar and referred it to the Committee on Foreign RelaUIbid., p. 941.


tions from which it did not reappear during the 93d Congress. This course was taken by the Committee on Foreign Relations in support of the Administration position that no action should take place that might jeopardize the continuing Law of the Sea negotiations. The bills died with the close of the 93d Congress.
As time passed, U.S. seabed mining interests were losing patience with the legislative process and the U.N. deliberations. Instead, they began to seek security for future investments in the formation of international consorti'a' for seabed mining. The first consortium involved Kennecott Copper Corporation, followed shortly by the CLB Group and Deepsea Ventures. After final action on S. 1134 appeared hopeless, on November 14,1974, Deepsea Ventures, Inc. filed a "Notice of Discovery and Claim of Exclusive Mining Rights and Requests for Diplomatic Protection of Investment" (Appendix E). This notice was filed with the relevant Federal agencies, foreign embassies, and private corporations. The notice was accompanied by a legal brief documenting the justification for such. action based an international precedent. While the Department Of State did not officially recognize or grant exclusive mining rights to Deepsea Ventures, it did reply that mining of the seabed beyond the limits of national jurisdiction may proceed as a freedom of the high seas under existing international law (Appendix F).

Deep seabed mining legislation was again introduced into the 94th Congress by Representative Thomas N. Downing (H.R. 1270) on January 14, 1975. The bill, which is essentially the same as the version reported out of the Senate Interior Committee in the 93d Congress, was referred to the House Committees on ,Merchant Marine and Fisheries and Interior and Insular Affairs. The identical bill, S. 713, was introduced into the Senate on February 18, 1975, by Senators Metcalf, Bartlett, 'Fannin, Hansen, Jackson, Johnston, and Moss. The hill was referred to the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs with the stipulation that if and when reported the bill would be referred to the Committees on Armed Services-, Commerce, and Foreign Relations for thirty days. The provision of a time limit of thirty days was intended to avoid the problem in the 93d Congress of the bill's becoming indefinitely tied up' in another committee.
An indication that the Administration may also be starting to be-come somewhat less optimistic about the, prospects for a successful outcome of the Law of the Sea Conference is evidenced by recent actions by the Department of Interior. On February 25, 1975 the Department announced the formation of an Ocean Mining Administration to promote and encourage ocean mineral resource, recovei-y' from the seabed and subsoil beyond the limits of national jurisdiction (Table 21). While officially stating that he has every hope that the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea will be concluded successfully, Secretary of the Interior Rogers C. B. Morton stated:
The Administration, however, mindful of its responsibilities to reduce whereever possible our nation's vulnerability to interruptible or high cost sources of raw materials, will have to be prepared to act through a domestic program to