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Metals Company and SGS produce world’s first nickel sulphate from seafloor polymetallic nodules

TMC the metals company Inc. (Nasdaq: TMC) announced on April 23 that the world’s first nickel sulphate derived exclusively from seafloor polymetallic nodules has been recovered. The sulphate was generated during bench-scale testing of a hydrometallurgical flowsheet in partnership with SGS Canada.

Undertaken on samples of nickel-cobalt-copper matte produced by TMC in 2021, the extractive metallurgy team at SGS tested TMC’s flowsheet that processes high-grade nickel matte directly to nickel sulphate without making nickel metal. The process produces fertilizer by-products instead of solid waste or tailings.

Following the successful nickel sulphate production, SGS continues testing to produce what TMC believes will be the world’s first cobalt sulphate from polymetallic nodules.

“The production of the world’s first nickel sulphate from deep-seafloor nodules is an important milestone, confirming that our custom flowsheet configuration can be deployed to process these remarkable rocks into final products suitable for use in batteries,” said TMC head of onshore development Jeffrey Donald.

“The data collected will inform further engineering decisions to move this towards commercial scale, and TMC continues to expect that initial production will begin with a capital-light approach by leveraging the existing processing facilities of strategic partners.”

TMC collected nodules from the Nori project in the Pacific Ocean between Mexico and Hawaii in 2022. It returned to the site late last year to examine the effects of disturbing the seafloor – plume dynamics, concentration, and dispersal. The company reported that the observed data indicated the plume is low-lying, and the mud is influence by gravity and the contours of the seafloor rather than the ocean currents.

TMC hopes to begin commercial mining by late-2025.

Seafloor mining is not without its detractors. Environmental groups and non-governmental organizations are staunchly opposed. Some countries, including the United States, have okayed seafloor mining in their waters as the need for critical minerals continues to heat up.

Source: MINING.COM – Read More