Allseas’ deepsea mining vessel Hiddem Gem has arrived at Damen Shiprepair in Schiedam, the Netherlands for repair and maintenance, painting and reactivation works. This ship is to carry out a collector “wet-test” in the Atlantic at the end of 2021 and pilot mining tests in the Pacific, 1200 nautical miles west of Mexico, in 2022.
Allseas is developing an innovative polymetallic nodule collector and riser system to gather nodules that sit unattached atop the abyssal seafloor within contract areas held by The Metals Company in the Pacific Ocean’s Clarion Clipperton Zone (CCZ). In June 2019, the company formed a partnership with DeepGreen, now The Metals Company, to start deepsea mining in this area.
The mineral collector’s detailed design – a steel frame with tracks, processing equipment and pick up nozzles – is scheduled for delivery in October. In parallel, Allseas is still working on the airlift system that will transport the nodules to the surface. This 4.5-kilometre-long riser, will be deployed from the Hidden Gem and connected to the collector vehicle via a shorter flexible hose. The mineral-bearing nodules are separated from sediment inside the collector vehicle and floated up the riser pipe to the surface. The nodules will then be transferred from Hidden Gem onto cargo vessels for transportation to shore.
Also read: Allseas’ deepsea mining efforts intensify
Allseas acquired the former ultra-deepwater drill ship Vitoria 10000 in February 2020 for conversion to accommodate the nodule collection system. Renamed Hidden Gem, the vessel is 228 metres long and 42 metres wide, and can accommodate a crew of 200. Reactivation of the vessel was first started in Norway and now continues at Damen.
After the pilot mining tests in 2022, the vessel is expected to enable first commercial production for The Metals Company in 2024.
Watch a video of the ship arriving in Schiedam as well as extra pictures below.