Vancouver, Canada-headquartered DeepGreen Metals Inc is working with Swiss-based offshore contractor Allseas Group S.A. to convert a former deepwater drillship into a pilot nodule mining vessel. The Petrobras-owned Vitoria 10000, which measures 228-meters by 42-meters and has accommodation for up to 200, was purchased at action last year for $15.5 million. It is to be fitted with a 4.5 kilometer-long riser currently being developed by Allseas that will allow testing of a DeepGreen-developed nodule collection system by the middle of next year.
DeepGreen holds exploration rights for two polymetallic nodule areas in the South Pacific granted by the governments of Nauru and Kiribati and regulated by the International Seabed Authority. Polymetallic nodules contain high grades of nickel, manganese, copper and cobalt and if they can be successfully harvested, will be processed using a metallurgical flowsheet developed by DeepGreen.