Polymetallic Nodules

Odyssey's Polymetallic Nodule Focused Projects

Mineral Resource Composition

These nodules are concretions comprised of concentric layers of manganese and iron hydroxides containing elevated abundances of cobalt, nickel, rare earth elements, lithium, germanium, titanium, zirconium and tellurium, copper, molybdenum, and thallium.

How and Where They From

​Polymetallic nodules are potato-shaped concretions found lying on the abyssal plain in water depths ranging from 4,000 – 6,500 meters. Nodules vary in size but are generally small (commonly less than 10 centimeters) with rounded to irregular forms.  Polymetallic nodules form from the gradual precipitation of metallic components from seawater and the sediment substrate on which they form. 

Why We Need These Resources

Low-carbon technologies are metal intensive including solar energy and wind energy technologies, both of which are enabled through battery storage systems, and by using renewable energy technologies, including battery-powered electric vehicles. Though recycling may one day be a viable option there are not enough materials in circulation to meet demand through recycling alone. Current land sources are producing lower grades and quantities or ores. Continuing to rely on the terrestrial sources also means that more land will be used for extraction, making it impossible to avoid the direct and indirect significant environmental and community impacts from land mining. 

Nodule Recovery​

Nearly 100% of the minerals found in polymetallic nodules are usable. Conversely land-based metal ores often contain less than 2% of the targeted minerals and rarely see above 20%. Nodules lie unattached on the ocean floor so drilling, excavating, digging or blasting is not required to recover them, and there is no overburden to remove.  Environmental studies are indicating that polymetallic nodule recovery can be done in a way that generates no solid waste, emits up to 90% less carbon emissions, and does not produce toxic tailings or waste products. 

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CIC Project
Antigua & Barbuda Exploration Project

Sources

Paulikas, D., Katona, S., Ilves, Saleem, H. (2020, December 1). Life cycle climate change impacts of producing battery metals from land ores versus deep-sea polymetallic nodules. Journal of Cleaner Production (Volume 275). ScienceDirect.com. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959652620338671?via%3Dihub

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