Deep-Sea Mining Applications to Start in Summer: Kiplinger Economic Forecasts

However, it is still unclear when deep-sea mining will actually begin.

Offshore Oil or Gas Rig in sea at sunset time. industry drill platform in ocean. Water with underwater bubbles with sunrise on horizon. subsea marine landscape. Mining petroleum.
(Image credit: Getty)

Mining is the extraction of materials from the earth. While sometimes controversial, it plays a huge part in the economy as it affects the supply of raw materials which power industries. 

To help you understand this sector, our highly experienced Kiplinger Letter team will update you on major developments (Subscribe to The Kiplinger Letter or get a free issue). Here is our latest mining forecast…

While international regulators are still putting various rules in place, they will likely start accepting deep-sea mining applications this summer.

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The UN-affiliated International Seabed Authority (ISA) won’t finish its mining code by July 9, the deadline that was set after the island nation Nauru triggered a provision in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea

To keep the process moving, ISA will instead start hearing bids from companies interested in mining the seabed. Less clear is when mining will actually start, likely not until next year at the earliest, but other obstacles could push the start date back even further.

Cost of deep-sea mining is still high

Raising the necessary capital will also be a challenge for miners who are working out the kinks, such as the Metals Company (TMC). The Canadian firm has estimated that a full-fledged mining operation with a processing facility would cost $10.6 billion to launch, a sum that might be prohibitively expensive.

The seabed contains more valuable minerals than all continents combined, including abundant deposits of copper, nickel, manganese and cobalt.

Clean-energy mining 

All have key clean-energy applications, most notably batteries for electric vehicles (EVs). Notably, the U.S. will not have a dog in the fight for deep-sea minerals.

Lockheed Martin (LMT), which long maintained an interest in deep-sea mining via foreign subsidiary UK Seabed Resources, has already exited the business.

American companies cannot directly apply for deep-sea mining permits, since the Senate has not yet ratified the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

This forecast first appeared in the Kiplinger Letter, which has been running since 1925 and is a collection of concise weekly forecasts on business and economic trends, as well as what to expect from Washington, to help you understand what’s coming up to make the most of your investments and your money. Subscribe to the Kiplinger Letter here. 

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Matthew Housiaux
Reporter, The Kiplinger Letter
Housiaux covers the White House and state and local government for The Kiplinger Letter. Before joining Kiplinger in June 2016, he lived in Sioux Falls, SD, where he was the forum editor of Augustana University's student newspaper, the Mirror. He also contributed stories to the Borgen Project, a Seattle-based nonprofit focused on raising awareness of global poverty. He earned a B.A. in history and journalism from Augustana University.