Cobalt, copper, nickel, zinc and manganese. The bottom of the world's oceans is home to large amounts of the minerals that form a central part of the green transition. Around the world, several initiatives have been initiated to take advantage of the deposits.
Leading the way is Norway, where the previous government put forward a proposal for exploration in an area between Greenland and Svalbard. The final decision on the matter has not yet been made, but even if the current government were to give the green light, a lot of work remains to be done before mining can become a reality.
"They are not completely in phase with the technology. It's very deep in these places, and the types of mineral deposits that exist are not entirely easy to just lift up from the seabed and bring to land for processing," says Anna Apler, a geologist at the Geological Survey of Sweden (SGU).
Criticism from environmental organizations
The decision on exploration, which could be made as early as next year, is also not without controversy. A large number of environmental organizations have turned against the plans as they believe that the risks are too great.
"What is often talked about is the lack of knowledge about the deep seabed. Surveys in the deep sea have revealed new species all the time. What happens if you start digging and trawling up the bottom, do you destroy the unique environments that exist there? What will happen to the world's oceans then? You don't really know," says Anna Apler.