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Goal oriented mineral exploration management

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Presented by Mark E. Mussett and Christopher Moore, Odyssey Marine Exploration, Tampa, FL 

Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. is a marine exploration company engaged in identifying and developing mineral resources needed for food security and the shift to a decarbonized economy. Odyssey participates in both support and management of nearly every aspect of a given program through its role as both a primary developer and service provider within the industry. Odyssey’s operation successes have stemmed from the organization’s ability to identify specific goals for a program, creating a solution to achieve these goals, executing a plan to deliver a solution, and ultimately providing a solution.


Two case studies demonstrating Odyssey’s goal-first project involvement are its recent development of a deep-water ROV system, and commissioning of a high resolution near-seafloor sensor package through a cooperative agreement with academic institutions. For every marine mineral program, regardless of mineral type or setting, a robust environmental program benefitting from extensive field data is necessary. Odyssey, its clients, and partners became aware of a dearth of commercially available full ocean depth ROV systems, while at the same time recognizing the need for high resolution seafloor and near-seafloor data acquisition. Internal planning in conjunction with dialogue between partners, clients and collaborators refined details of data and capability requirements. Odyssey then sourced a platform, commissioned an engineering team and workspace, and commenced fabrication of a purpose-built ROV system. The year-plus process from planning to sea trial clearance and deployment required coordination between different personnel and disciplines within the business.


Concurrently, Odyssey facilitated an agreement with the both the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and the University of South Florida to outfit a pair of sensor packages designed for high-resolution data acquisition in the near-seafloor friction layer. Data from these sensors and subsequent analysis thereof will provide detailed baseline environmental data as well as a focused view of turbidity impacts from disturbance tests and mining trials. Similar systems have been successfully deployed during institutional research cruises, and the novel adaptation of these systems for marine mineral project support will integrate academic objectivity and innovating technology and techniques into environmental work programs, with initial implementation in support of nodule exploration programs in the Cook Islands.

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