Conversion of drill ship to polymetallic nodule mining unit for The Metals Company
The 228-metre-long drill ship is set to be the first vessel classified as an offshore mining vessel (for collecting raw materials from the seabed) by the American Bureau of Shipping. At the same time, work is underway to integrate with the ship as a base a pilot submersible vehicle for the collection of polymetallic nodules together with a riser (column duct) system designed and currently being built by Allseas. Components of the system are already undergoing factory acceptance testing.
The Metals Company (Nasdaq: TMC) announced today that the 228-metre former drillship Hidden Gem has arrived in Rotterdam and has already been brought into the dry dock of the Damen Group’s repair yard in Schiedam (Rotterdam), where work will begin on its conversion to the first vessel classified by the American Bureau of Shipping as for offshore mining. This was announced today, but the vessel was already at the said shipyard on 31 August this year.
Allseas, which is a strategic partner of TMC, took ownership of the former deepwater drilling vessel in March 2020, which accommodates 200 people on board. The vessel’s configuration allows for modifications to enable the 4.5km long riser to be used offshore to extract polymetallic concretions from the ocean floor.
In collaboration with The Metals Company (formerly DeepGreen Metals Inc.), Allseas is developing a deep-sea mineral extraction system that will allow polymetallic nodules to be responsibly extracted from the ocean floor and brought to the surface for transport to shore. The concretions have a high content of nickel, manganese, copper and cobalt – key metals in the production of batteries for electric cars and renewable energy technologies.
“We are delighted to welcome Hidden Gem to Europe and to see how much progress Allseas has made in its adaptation,” – Gerard Barron, president and CEO of The Metals Company, said. “The unit has successfully transitioned into the dry dock maintenance phase, which bodes well for a smooth and timely conversion ahead of the start of our pilot mining project in 2022.”
The Metals Company recently completed a special purpose vehicle merger and listing on Nasdaq, for which it received congratulations from strategic partner Allseas, a global leader in offshore engineering.
“As an important ongoing investor in the company and an entity for private investment in public equity, we continue to strengthen our strategic relationship with The Metals Company. We share the company’s vision when it comes to leveraging what is estimated to be the world’s largest source of metals to produce batteries that will be key in the transition to a green economy.”
TMC and Allseas expect the vessel to be able to participate in pilot tests of polymetallic concretions mining in mid-2022.