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Magnetic mining of polymetallic nodules

09/22/2022 3:33 PM

Looking at the present methods of deep ocean nodule mining,they all employ a vacuum-types system to suck up the nodules,generating a large cloud of sediment behind them.I wonder if anyone has explored the possibility of using magnetic harvesting.There is a lot of nickle in the nodules,and nickle is highly magnetic.

If possible,this would help reduce the sediment cloud at the floor level,and also help recover nickle from the ground up nodules that get pulverized in the pumps and piping attached to the ship.

Sure,it would require power from the vessel,but so do the carpet-cleaner vacuums they are presently engineering.

Jus' thinkin'.

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#1

Re: Magnetic mining of polymetallic nodules

09/22/2022 4:06 PM

It seems to me there would still be significant plume creation...It also seems to me the only thing that would work is to filter the sentiment out of the water and deposit it on the shore, though in all honesty I don't see how this could be done without a rather complicated filtering system...I read once that wine makers use raw eggs deposited on the surface of a cask of wine and allowed to settle to remove fine sediment and clarify the wine...perhaps a biodegradable method of this could be deposited over the mining area...though it seems a bit far fetched...

https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abn1219

https://www.woko.de/en/special-magnets/underwater-magnets

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Magnetic mining of polymetallic nodules

09/22/2022 5:29 PM

I would imagine that picking up modules from the sea floor would generate far less sediment than sucking up the sediment with modules that churn up the sea floor with tillers and blowing the sediment out the back of the mining vessel.

Even the vessel just moving about will generate some sediment,I am thinking of reducing it,not total elimination.

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#3
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Re: Magnetic mining of polymetallic nodules

09/22/2022 7:30 PM

I guess it depends on the design of the mining vehicle....

..."The pre-prototype vehicle Patania II is an active pick-up system which is broken down into four major subsystems:

  • Nodule collection system: the nodule collection system consists of the collector head, the jet water pumps and all sensors to monitor the suction process. The design of the collector head is based on the results obtained from the laboratory tests.
  • Propulsion system: a two-track system will be used for the propulsion system. The terramechanical values measured in-situ with the TSTD Patania were used for the design of the propulsion system.
  • Nodule separation and discharge system: there will not be a riser to pump the collected nodules to the surface vessel. Hence, a dumping system is incorporated into the design of the vehicle.
  • Vehicle systems: this part comprises all components for the proper functioning of the vehicle. This includes hydraulic power units (HPUs ), telemetry, buoyancy, etc"...

https://im-mining.com/2018/07/17/gsr-submits-seafloor-nodule-mining-exploration-prior-eis-ahead-key-seabed-authority-meeting/

https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abn1219

https://www.mining.com/the-metals-company-deep-water-tests-polymetallic-nodule-collector-vehicle-in-atlantic/

I don't think you can rely on a uniform nickel content enough to assure sufficient attraction by your magnet to gather all of the nodules, and there is also a question of buried nodules, they don't all lay on the surface, how much attraction and what is the force necessary to extract these specimens from below the surface....there is little doubt that you could pick up some nodules with a well designed vehicle, but a lot of modules may have little nickel content.....

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2017.00418/full

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#4

Re: Magnetic mining of polymetallic nodules

09/23/2022 2:18 AM

What the hell is "nickle"?

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Magnetic mining of polymetallic nodules

09/23/2022 3:02 AM

A typing error.

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#7
In reply to #5

Re: Magnetic mining of polymetallic nodules

09/23/2022 8:46 AM

Sometimes I am slydexic.

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#8
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Re: Magnetic mining of polymetallic nodules

09/23/2022 9:01 AM

Lysdexia lures, KO?

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#6
In reply to #4

Re: Magnetic mining of polymetallic nodules

09/23/2022 6:29 AM

Baby "Nicks"?

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#9

Re: Magnetic mining of polymetallic nodules

09/23/2022 4:40 PM

I doubt you will get a strong enough effect to collect the nodules by magnetic means.

Nodules are AFAICT composed of hydroxides and oxide-hydroxides of the various metals you note. These are not strongly ferromagnetic like the pure metal versions of the metals. It looks likely to be a mixture of ferrimagnetic and paramagnetic but nothing very significant. Some do have a magnetic transition to something a little stronger, but that starts well below the freezing point of even the saltiest brines.

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#10
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Re: Magnetic mining of polymetallic nodules

09/23/2022 5:38 PM

From what I have read,the nodules yield around 50% nickel,which is highly magnetic.

The nodules are formed over millions of years as deposits left on small bit of debris,like pieces of seashells.This is not a renewable source,in our lifetime,so it will soon be depleted if an efficient method is devised,however,it may give us some breathing room to develop other methods of energy storage and generation.

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#11
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Re: Magnetic mining of polymetallic nodules

09/23/2022 10:01 PM

It seems you forgot the decimal point before that 50%, making it .50%....the nodules are mostly manganese(16%) and iron(15.5%)....

..."According to 1978 estimate, the ocean floor has 500 billion tons of manganese nodules."...

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/earth-and-planetary-sciences/manganese-nodule

Percentage of manganese output in 2006 by countries

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#13
In reply to #10

Re: Magnetic mining of polymetallic nodules

09/23/2022 11:23 PM

It is equally if not more important to consider using less (of everything, energy included) rather than looking for ways to excuse or satisfy an ever growing appetite.

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: Magnetic mining of polymetallic nodules

09/24/2022 2:06 AM

Energy is the lifeblood of civilization, choke it off, and you are killing yourself and your neighbors....Efficiency is achieved after the fact, not before it...

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#17
In reply to #10

Re: Magnetic mining of polymetallic nodules

09/24/2022 1:17 PM

The nodules may yield 50% nickel, but that is almost certainly after processing. Metallic nickel, iron and manganese metal does not remain metal in sea water.

The oxides, hydroxides, and oxyhydroxides of those metals are energetically favorable (significant negative Gibbs free energy of formation) compared to the metallic state. Energy is released forming the oxides, hydroxides and oxyhydroxides; as such the metallic state will not spontaneously form/ accumulate to any significant degree.

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#18
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Re: Magnetic mining of polymetallic nodules

09/24/2022 1:39 PM

After further study,I have to agree with you that the nodules are not highly magnetic,as I first thought.

Still a more efficient and less environmentally disturbing method of extraction should be developed to minimize the unknown,unintended consequences of disrupting a system that took millions of years to adapt.I believe studies are slanted in favor of profit over long term damage."As long as we can feather our nest,it's ok." seems to be the current motto.

"Damn the torpedoes,full speed ahead"."..David Farragut

On one hand,stirring up the sediment may provide more food for the bottom dwellers,but too much will decrease sunlight to the mid-ocean level that conduct photosynthesis.

We know more about the moon and Mars than we do about our own oceans.

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#12

Re: Magnetic mining of polymetallic nodules

09/23/2022 11:20 PM

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#15
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Re: Magnetic mining of polymetallic nodules

09/24/2022 10:54 AM

A good balanced discussion. Many proponents of the mining are not so concerned about the effects of it.

In my opinion we design systems that need more energy and rely on ever-increasing extraction of the materials we use--causing the future generations to be impoverished. Since we can find ways to continue our present trajectory of life beyond our immediate lifetimes, we fail to provide for later. Providing for the future is VERY hard to implement in our own habits, desires, and plans.

You will most likely disagree with my view that the population of the earth has already exceeded its carrying capacity. Suggestions that efficiency comes after innovation need to be supported. A history of lighting shows a transition from whale oil to kerosene to methane to incandescent electric to LED. Each is more efficient than the previous and uses less resources to produce. However all of these use resources, when we could perhaps structure our lives around the abundant sun light and its hours of availability.

--JMM

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#16
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Re: Magnetic mining of polymetallic nodules

09/24/2022 12:38 PM

The environmental impact has been studied for years, and at great expense.... I'd say they were very concerned...Everything is a tradeoff, both the good and bad must be weighed to find the path forward...The mining of these minerals on land is less environmentally friendly than mining at sea...so you must choose the lesser of two weevils...

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#19
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Re: Magnetic mining of polymetallic nodules

09/25/2022 9:03 AM

That is assuming there are only two choices, which is the customary view--"If you are not with me, you are against me." In this instance other choices include reducing consumption or finding alternative ways of doing what the minerals were for.

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#20
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Re: Magnetic mining of polymetallic nodules

09/25/2022 12:58 PM

The greens want electric cars right now, they don't want to wait...these minerals have many many uses, but primarily batteries is driving demand, in any case demand for these minerals will continue to rise...stand in the way of progress and you will become the forgotten man....

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#21
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Re: Magnetic mining of polymetallic nodules

09/26/2022 4:07 AM

..."Critical raw materials used in manufacturing Li-ion batteries (LIBs) include lithium, graphite, cobalt, and manganese."...

..."FOTW #1228, March 7, 2022: Cobalt is the Most Expensive Material Used in Lithium-ion Battery Cathodes.Mar 7, 2022"..

https://www.energy.gov/eere/vehicles/articles/fotw-1228-march-7-2022-cobalt-most-expensive-material-used-lithium-ion

https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy19osti/73374.pdf

Top 10 Cobalt Producers by Country (Updated 2022)

  • Democratic Republic of Congo. Mine production: 120,000 MT. ...
  • Russia. Mine production: 7,600 MT. ...
  • Australia. Mine production: 5,600 MT. ...
  • Philippines. Mine production: 4,500 MT. ...
  • Canada. Mine production: 4,300 MT. ...
  • Cuba. Mine production: 3,900 MT. ...
  • Papua New Guinea. ...
  • Madagascar.

More items... • Aug 2, 2022

The top 5 cobalt producers

  • Glencore PLC | LSE:GLEN | Market Cap: $52.45B. ...
  • China Molybdenum | HKEX:3993 | Market Cap: $34.06B. ...
  • Fleurette Group | Private. ...
  • Vale | NYSE:VALE | Market Cap: $65.82B. ...
  • Gecamines | State-controlled.
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#22
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Re: Magnetic mining of polymetallic nodules

09/26/2022 4:23 AM

Who controls cobalt mining? However, Cobalt is a unique commodity because it's primarily controlled by only two countries: China and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The DRC supplies about 70 percent of the world's Cobalt, but 80% of its industrial cobalt mines are owned or financed by Chinese companies.Apr 20, 2022

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solid-state_battery

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#23
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Re: Magnetic mining of polymetallic nodules

09/26/2022 9:57 AM

Assuming the use of LIBs there are serious supply issues regarding cobalt, as you say. These plus the problems with electrolyte flammability in many of these batteries and the desire for greater energy density all give a strong push for other chemistries and other physical conformations. I am sure you are familiar with all of this.

If we move towards the Li-S (lithium-sulfur) chemistry the dependency on cobalt is avoided. Time will tell on that. With much higher energy density, the availability of lithium and other components will probably be able to meet the increased demand for energy storage as we transition from dependence on fossil fuels. I hope so.

JMM

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#24
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Re: Magnetic mining of polymetallic nodules

09/26/2022 12:47 PM

If and when are not compatible with now, and the now is what we are dealing with....now

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#25
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Re: Magnetic mining of polymetallic nodules

09/26/2022 3:02 PM

Please define the time frame in your use of "now".

  • Projected cobalt demand and supply with costs for the next 5 years.
  • How many days/weeks/months/years before deep ocean mining provides at least 30% of our cobalt demand.
  • How many days/weeks/months/years before other battery technologies minimize cobalt demand.

I am not convinced that the first will happen before the second one. You probably have much more access to the journal and engineering articles than I have, so your brief reply would be more understandable if combined with data and facts, not just a somewhat nebulous use of the word "now".

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#27
In reply to #25

Re: Magnetic mining of polymetallic nodules

09/26/2022 6:56 PM

https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Forecasted-global-cobalt-supply-demand-for-years-2019-2030-and-forecasted-market-surplus_fig3_354067442

I expect that deep sea mining operations will begin within 2 years and in an additional 5 years be the third largest producer of cobalt...

https://eos.org/features/the-2-year-countdown-to-deep-sea-mining

...and I estimate costs for solid state batteries will be cost competitive within 20 years...at this time hydrogen production will have become affordable and plentiful enough to start the transition to hydrogen fuel cells as energy sources for EV's....and batteries will continue for niche markets...

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#28
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Re: Magnetic mining of polymetallic nodules

09/26/2022 7:47 PM

Thank-you. I take it that "now" is in the range of 2-3 years.

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#29
In reply to #28

Re: Magnetic mining of polymetallic nodules

09/27/2022 12:25 PM

Who can say what the future holds, a lot has to do with the economy and politics among other variables...but I'd say 1 to 2 years...but in order for this mining method to be producing, the infrastructure has to be in place...so you should start now...of course they have already started several years ago...

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#26

Re: Magnetic mining of polymetallic nodules

09/26/2022 3:03 PM

Pick one of the small areas and mined it completely. See what happens. Whatever does happen, will renew itself. Life hates a vacuum. Remember all the hew-do over the great reef? It's back and growing. Remember, it was going to be dead for centuries. Even cause a worse acidic plague, or some such narrative.

This planet has more resources than you can imagine. We have an abundance of fossil fuels and metals. It's all good. Ignorance of this, is the only problem.

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