- The Metals Company successfully concluded Environmental Expedition 5E, the latest campaign in its $75 million multi-year deep-sea research program to establish a rigorous environmental baseline and characterize the potential impacts of the Company’s proposed polymetallic nodule collection operations
- Scientists on board used a suite of cutting-edge technologies including a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) and seafloor landers to sample abyssal megafauna, and to gather critical data on deep-sea ecosystem function
- The researchers involved represent some of the world’s leading marine science institutions including the UK National Oceanography Centre, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science & Marine Technology (JAMSTEC), Natural History Museum (London), Heriot-Watt University and the University of Gothenburg.
The Metals Company (NASDAQ: TMC) (the “Company” or “TMC”), an explorer of lower-impact battery metals from seafloor polymetallic nodules, today announced the completion of its latest offshore research campaign, Environmental Expedition 5E, a targeted sampling campaign of both benthic and pelagic fauna with wider investigations to characterize ecosystem function on the abyssal seafloor.
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The completion of the six-week expedition — the Company’s fifth environmental campaign in the last twelve months — marks the latest offshore campaign required to develop an environmental baseline of the Company’s proposed operating environment in the Clarion Clipperton Zone (CCZ) of the Pacific Ocean and characterize the potential impacts of its proposed nodule collection operations to source critical battery metals from deep-sea polymetallic nodules. In 2022, the Company will conduct an initial Prototype Collector Vehicle manoeuvrability test in the Atlantic Ocean, followed by pilot collection system trials in the CCZ later in the year.
Aboard the Maersk Launcher were researchers from some of the world’s leading marine science institutions including the UK National Oceanography Centre (NOC), Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science & Marine Technology (JAMSTEC), Natural History Museum (London), Heriot-Watt University and the University of Gothenburg, who deployed a range of cutting-edge technologies including a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) and an array of seafloor landers.
Over the course of more than 390 ROV operational hours, researchers from the UK National Oceanography Centre conducted visual observations of over 30-square-kilometers of seafloor, capturing more than 35,000 high-resolution images and extensive video data which will be used to identify megafauna at depths of 4,000 meters. Whereas prior campaigns utilized randomised boxcore sampling to obtain macrofaunal samples, the technologies used for Expedition 5E allowed the team to conduct highly targeted sampling of benthic macro and megafauna and to focus on species of particular scientific interest.
To explore the gelatinous communities that occupy the midwater column , the pelagic team led by JAMSTEC supplemented traditional sampling methods such as nets with ROV mounted video to conduct 130 video transects at various depths, and used specialized D-samplers and the ROV’s suction sampler to collect specimens.
A team led by Heriot-Watt University used an array of seafloor landers, including seabed respirometers and baited traps and cameras, to collect a wide range of data to assess ecosystem function on the abyssal seafloor. In total, just under 1,200 tissue and specimen samples were collected throughout the campaign, contributing to a variety of baseline studies including DNA and morphological taxonomy, population genetics, ecotoxicology and ecosystem function.
Gerard Barron, CEO & Chairman of The Metals Company, said: “With five research campaigns under our belts in the last twelve months, the all-star research teams we’ve brought together are helping build a high-resolution picture of the potential impacts of collecting nodules. This data will enable our engineering and project teams to optimize our activities for low impact and ensure that we lift the nodules to the surface with the lightest possible touch.”
Planet’s largest known source of battery metals
TMC’s NORI-D nodule project — recently ranked as the #1 nickel project in the world by Mining.com — is the first in the Company’s project development pipeline. In January, The Metals Company published an upward revision to the nodule resource reported within the NORI-D area held by its subsidiary, Nauru Ocean Resources Inc. (NORI), improving resource confidence from ‘inferred’ to ‘indicated’ status. Resource tonnage increased by 7% over the reported area from 320Mt inferred to 341Mt indicated. The positive conversion rates arising from infill sampling grid with quality box core sample data are high compared to the typical outcomes from infill sampling of terrestrial mineral deposits.
As countries invest in large-scale clean energy transition programs and begin to phase out internal combustion engines, hundreds of millions of tons of critical battery metals will be needed to decarbonize the world’s energy and transport systems, according to the International Energy Agency. As noted in a recent report by the International Renewable Energy Agency, polymetallic nodules can “substantially change the supply outlook for several critical materials,” including nickel and cobalt.
About The Metals Company
TMC the metals company Inc. (The Metals Company) is an explorer of lower-impact battery metals from seafloor polymetallic nodules, on a dual mission: (1) supply metals for the clean energy transition with the least possible negative environmental and social impact and (2) accelerate the transition to a circular metal economy. The company through its subsidiaries holds exploration rights to three polymetallic nodule contract areas in the Clarion Clipperton Zone of the Pacific Ocean regulated by the International Seabed Authority and sponsored by the governments of Nauru, Kiribati and the Kingdom of Tonga. More information is available at www.metals.co.
Forward Looking Statements
Certain statements made in this press release are not historical facts but are forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions under The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements generally are accompanied by words such as “believe,” “may,” “will,” “estimate,” “continue,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “expect,” “should,” “would,” “plan,” “predict,” “potential,” “seem,” “seek,” “future,” “outlook” and similar expressions that predict or indicate future events or trends or that are not statements of historical matters. The forward-looking statements contained in this press release include, without limitation, TMC’s expectations with respect to the success of its research campaign Environmental Expedition 5E, the results or outcomes of the campaigns and expeditions and the data generated during Environmental Expedition 5E respectively. These forward-looking statements involve significant risks and uncertainties that could cause the actual results to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements. Most of these factors are outside TMC’s control and are difficult to predict. Factors that may cause such differences include, but are not limited to: regulatory uncertainties and the impact of government regulation and political instability on TMC’s resource activities; changes to any of the laws, rules, regulations or policies to which TMC is subject; the impact of extensive and costly environmental requirements on TMC’s operations; environmental liabilities; the impact of polymetallic nodule collection on biodiversity in the CCZ and recovery rates of impacted ecosystems; TMC’s ability to develop minerals in sufficient grade or quantities to justify commercial operations; the lack of development of seafloor polymetallic nodule deposit; uncertainty in the estimates for mineral resource calculations from certain contract areas and for the grade and quality of polymetallic nodule deposits; risks associated with natural hazards; uncertainty with respect to the specialized treatment and processing of polymetallic nodules that TMC may recover; risks associated with collective, development and processing operations; fluctuations in transportation costs; testing and manufacturing of equipment; risks associated with TMC’s limited operating history; the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; risks associated with TMC’s intellectual property; and other risks and uncertainties, including those in the “Risk Factors” sections, included in the final prospectus and definitive proxy statement, dated and filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) on August 12, 2021 relating to the business combination, in TMC’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2021, filed by TMC with the SEC on November 15, 2021, and in TMC’s other future filings with the SEC. TMC cautions that the foregoing list of factors is not exclusive. TMC cautions readers not to place undue reliance upon any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date made. TMC does not undertake or accept any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements to reflect any change in its expectations or any change in events, conditions, or circumstances on which any such statement is based except as required by law.