12 PM NETWORK OC TOBER 2014 WWW.PMI.ORG
Many environmental groups, however, do not believe
life will just go on during and after deep-sea mining projects. “;e deep ocean is not yet mapped or
explored and so the potential loss of fauna and biospheres from mining is not yet understood,” Richard
Page of Greenpeace told the BBC in April.
While scouting for deep-sea project sites, Odyssey
Marine Exploration Inc., based in Tampa, Florida, USA,
tries to gauge the environmental impact of mining. ;at
means a variety of experts from beyond the mining ;eld
end up supporting project teams trying to understand
the environmental impact—and therefore potential
feasibility—of a deep-sea project. Odyssey studies how
plumes of particulates generated by mining operations
might travel and impact underwater ecosystems, for
example. “Marine biologists and chemists now play an
integral role on our science team,” says Tom Dettweiler,
Odyssey’s director of mineral exploration.
Rather than addressing environmental concerns after
problems arise, the o;shore mining companies are
building concerns into how they identify projects. ;at
should allow them to avoid the retro;tting solutions
other industries have required, Mr. Dettweiler says.
“We have the engineering challenge to design extraction
systems that minimize the environmental impact while
maintaining recovery e;ciency.” —Sandra Swanson
Up to 100,000 metric
tons of copper and
200,000 ounces ( 5. 7
million grams) of gold lie
1,500 meters ( 4,921 feet)
beneath the Bismarck
Sea off the coast of Papua
New Guinea. Canadian
company Nautilus Minerals received a 20-year lease in April to mine the deposit.
About 1. 8 million metric tons of zinc, along with copper and silver, are
estimated to lie below the Red Sea in the Atlantis II Deep deposit. Diamond
Fields International Ltd. of Canada and Manafa International Trade Co. of
Saudi Arabia have partnered on a project to mine it.
The Pacific Ocean’s vast floor is full of rare-earth minerals needed for
electronics. One estimate put its total deposits at 80 billion to 100 billion
Waters surrounding the Cook Islands in the South Pacific Ocean are
estimated to cover 10 billion metric tons of manganese nodules. The
nodules also contain copper, nickel and rare earth minerals.
Israel’s Leviev Group estimates there are 2 billion metric tons of
phosphate at a depth of 300 meters off the coast of Namibia. The company has projects underway that will help it mine about 2 million metric
tons of phosphate rock annually by 2018.
Brazil Goes for
After successfully staging the 2014 World Cup tournament, Brazil’s government is focused
on another massive international sporting event: the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. As with
the World Cup, Brazilian organizers have come under withering criticism for major project
delays. Some observers have said the games cannot be staged as promised in Rio de Janeiro,
the ;rst South American city to host the Olympics.
Yet the World Cup o;ered some critical lessons learned, the biggest of which was: Reduc-
ing a megaproject’s scope can save it. Although 21 of 83 infrastructure projects supporting the
tournament were postponed, most people still thought Brazil delivered a great competition
because the most important deliverables—the 12 stadiums hosting matches—were ready in
time. With less than two years left before the Olympics, that lesson could be relearned in Rio.
In April, International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice president John Coates said prepara-
tions for the 2016 games were the worst he’d ever experienced. To troubleshoot planning, the
IOC created a special task force that hired a project manager to oversee all construction.
IOC Executive Director Gilbert Felli, sent to Rio to lead the task force, was heartened by
the World Cup, however. Preparations remain “tense, very tense, but we should look with
very tense, but we
should look with
—Gilbert Felli, IOC executive director,
to the Associated Press
Continued from Page 10