Global Sea Mineral Resources (GSR), a subsidiary of DEME, is studying polymetallic nodules since 2012. For this purpose, we collaborate with scientists from various universities from Belgium and abroad.
GSR supports the proposal to establish a network of marine reserve areas of at least 30% of the oceans. This is already the case in the area where GSR conducts research. Since 2012, the International Seabed Authority (ISA) has set aside an area of 1.44 million square kilometers as a marine reserve area. This amounts to 35% of the Clarion Clipperton zone where the polymetallic nodules are located.
In 2018, GSR was the first company to publish its environmental impact statement for a scientific experiment. GSR has also partnered with the independent JPIO project, a consortium of scientists from nine European countries, to independently monitor their trials. In this way, GSR is setting the standard of the industry. A moratorium on deep sea mining would lead to a standstill of scientific deep-sea research. Only by intensifying research, we learn what we must protect.
The legislation under development includes high requirements in terms of environmental protection. No exploitation can take place without an environmental impact statement assessing the different risks and opportunities. The precautionary approach is also included in the legislative framework and has resulted in the progressive, step-by-step approach of GSR.
GSR endorses responsible exploitation of polymetallic nodules for the simple reason that these nodules are multi-metallic, and therefore the CO2 emissions per extracted kilogram of metal are much lower. Nodules contain four metals: nickel, copper, cobalt and manganese. These are precisely the metals we need to fight climate change. The remainder of the nodule consists of sand. These four metals never appear combined in terrestrial deposits, which leads to the imperative exploitation of three different mines.
According to the IPCC report, by 2075, 70 – 85 % of our energy supply must come from renewable sources to reach the target of 2.0 °C. For this, we need a fivefold increase of the investments in renewable and energy storage. A very ambitious goal which is impossible to achieve on the sole prospect of recycling, as metals are stuck in the infrastructure between 10-30 years before they can be recycled.
DEME is a world leader in the highly specialised fields of dredging, marine engineering and environmental remediation. The company can build on more than 140 years of know-how and experience and has fostered a pioneering approach throughout its history, being a front-runner in innovation and new technologies.
DEME’s vision is to work towards a sustainable future by offering solutions for global challenges: a rising sea level, a growing population, reduction of CO2 emissions, polluted rivers and soils and the scarcity of natural resources. Although DEME’s activities originated with the core dredging business, the portfolio diversified substantially over the decades, including dredging and land reclamation, solutions for the offshore energy market, infra marine solutions and environmental solutions.
While the company’s roots are in Belgium, DEME has built a strong presence in all of the world’s seas and continents, operating in more than 90 countries worldwide. DEME can rely on 5,200 highly skilled professionals across the globe. With a versatile and modern fleet of over 100 vessels, backed by a broad range of auxiliary equipment, the company can provide solutions for even the most complex projects.
DEME achieved a turnover of 2.65 billion euros in 2018.