Seabed Mineral Resources

seabed mineral resourcesRussia has begun to actively compete for seabed mineral resources. The International Seabed Authority (ISA) has approved a request by Moscow to conduct geological investigations in the sources of Kommersant Atlántico.Según sea, this is one of the largest untapped deposits in the world, copper and gold contents of between five and ten times that of landline. The project will be undertaken by the Geological Survey Expedition Polar and Marine Research Center VNII Okeangeologia, and has a budget of up to 43 million dollars over the next five years. Kommersant sources in the Russian government’s initiative shows that the Russian exploration of marine resources associated with a strong intensification of China in the same sector.

Russian Natural Resources Ministry announced on August 3, that the application for the exploration of mineral resources in the seabed was filed in December 2010 and approved on July 19 during a meeting at ISA headquarters in Kingston, Jamaica. In addition to Russia’s request, which was also adopted from China and Pacific island countries, Nauru and Tonga? This is the first time in history that the ISA authority without drilling in marine waters attached to the economic zone in accordance with specific circumstances.

Dario Vasilevskaya, deputy director of the department of state policies and regulations in the field of geology and exploitation of natural resources Natural Resources Ministry, told Kommersant that the contract with the ISA will be signed at the end of 2011 and will last for fifteen years, extendable to five. Explore the region that Russia has 100 blocks, each of 100 square kilometers and is located in the northern Cordillera Centroatlántica. Supplied minerals are found at depths of 2-4 kilometers. It is understood that Russia will have priority to exploit the deposits, according to the press service the Ministry of Natural Resources. The contract will last for two public companies: Prospecting Expedition Polar and Marine Geology Research Center VNII Okeangeologia.

According to information obtained by Kommersant, this exploration plans of one of the largest gold and copper deposits in the world, which is still unexplored. “In the land given to the Russians have found six promising sites. A rough estimate of the resources is between 50 and 70 million tones of dry ore body,” he told Kommersant Sergey Andreyev, deputy director of the department of geology and mineral resources Ocean World Okeangeologia VNII. “Keep in mind that the mineral content of rocks under the water several times larger than the earth’s surface.” According to experts, the average copper content in soil is 1%, while in submarine sulfide is given to Russia could be between 2.5% and 10% on average (maximum level is 30%) and a ton of rocks containing between 4 and 10 grams of gold. (17 g per ton maximum) If this assessment is confirmed, these resources will be comparable with those of the company Norilsk Nickel (Norilsk Nickel)…

According to Kommersant opponents in the Russian government, Moscow believes that the project of exploitation of minerals in the sea is equally important that the defense of Russian interests in exploiting the potential of hydrocarbon reserves in the Arctic (the institution that defines the limits of the continental shelf of the Russian Federation in the Arctic Ocean only VNII Okeangeologia). According to experts, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sachem and Natural Resources Minister Yuri Turned most involved in this aunt.

Sources in the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Moscow’s growing interest in marine mineral resources associated with China’s increased activity in this area. “For many years, told the exploration of the power-ocean navy conducted without notifying the ISA. However, May 7, 2010, China made a formal request to conduct a survey on the part of the Mountains of Southwest Indian Ocean’s when we decided to expedite our request itself… “

According to Dario Vasilevskaya, project development during the next five years will cost the state between 20 and 43 million dollars. Nikolai Sosnovsky, Bank VTB Capital, believes that investment in geological prospecting is quite simple. According to him, the annual cost of Russia’s leading gold higher. An investment of between 20 and 40 million to explore the deposit either in the ground with a capacity of 5 million ounces, or about 140 tons. In the case of the sea, is also possible to limit this budget. Canadian company, Nautilus Minerals, which plans to launch in 2013-2014 the first exploitation of gold mines in water depths of 1.6 km along the coast of Papua New Guinea, Geology invested 12.4 million dollars in the year 2010 2010-9900000.

However, this excludes the technical installations. Nautilus spent about $ 25 million a year just in chartering a boat for geological exploration. Rent single deep-water submersible automatic costs $ 3,000 per day. During the extraction stage, the cost is higher: the ship Nautilus to concentrate production will cost $ 167 million, the separator column and the amount of lift systems to $ 116 million and facility surveys and collectors have been priced at $ 84 million.

Russian geologists are also waiting for a big investment. Sergey Andreyev, of VNII Okeangeologia, said that for the prospecting phase will require a new research vessel (“Professor Logachiov” Nikolayev built 20 years ago and has become obsolete), survey and installation of diving. “The problem is that no such equipment produced in Russia. Sevmorgeo public research units and production company has developed several projects, but it requires political will,” believe Serguéyev. Kommersant has learned that there is a copy of the poll Sevmorgeo facility exists as a pilot cannot be completed until a year and a half “At the moment we have no new submarine automatic. But Russia has two Mir submersibles, high depth, and the Russ Submersible and Consul. It will be enough for the first eight years of prospecting, “the source said they were, problems could be solved with foreign partners who have the necessary technology  … The most likely candidate is the appropriate Nautilus Minerals. More specifically note that the Russian businessman Calisher Usmanov acquires 20% of the company in 2006 to $ 43.5 million. However, as the representative of the Ministry has not discussed the issue of Russia’s participation in the project Nautilus and Nautilus. Usmanov does not respond to requests Kommersant, and any comment from the company Metalloinvest, strong mining and metallurgical holding owned by the same Usmanov.

In any case, Russia is ready to run the project until the end. “For us, ocean exploration is an important geopolitical project aimed at defending the interests of Russia as a world power in the raw materials,” said a source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia. In addition, according to Kommersant, Russia is preparing another application for the ISA, this time for prospecting for cobalt Ferro-magnesium-containing cobalt in the Pacific sea floor, which can be studied in 2012.

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