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Tom Bonner

Dr. Jason Smith

Dr. Smith is working at the forefront of this emerging industry and will introduce the subject of polymetallic nodules (PMNs) and discuss it in the global context.

Traditional terrestrial mining produces high levels of waste and can be very destructive to both society and the environment; in contrast, PMNs are collected and processed with close to zero waste – we forecast that procurement of important battery materials from deep sea nodules will have a substantially lower global environmental impact. The Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone (CCFZ) harbors unique deposits of metal ores, called polymetallic nodules (PMN), that hold the potential to supply battery metals required to electrify the majority of the 1.5 billion automobile fleet by 2050. Use of PMNs as source of key battery metals will also help society transition to an urgently needed renewable energy. Nodules are potato sized “rock-like” formations that contain high concentrations of important battery metals (e.g., nickel); they are found unattached to the seabed at depths of 4-5 km and have the potential to fundamentally change the way the world obtains nickel, cobalt, manganese, and copper (among other metals).

Dr. Jason Smith holds a Bachelor of Science in microbiology (University of Florida), Master of Science in environmental science (University of Florida) and a Ph.D. in earth system science (Stanford University). During his fifteen years as an environmental scientist and oceanographer, he has conducted high impact research throughout the marine environment, from the activity and diversity of biological communities in marine sediments to the chemical and biological properties of deep ocean waters. He recently joined DeepGreen Resources as lead environmental scientist, responsible for developing and overseeing execution of technical aspects of their environmental monitoring and impact analysis programs in the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone.

Previously advertised as:

Deep Ocean Resources and the Future of Humanity with Dr. Gregory Stone

Humanity has gone through various phases of development, from the Stone Age to the age of oil. The next and probably last set of resources Earth has that we cannot do without or replicate is base metals. These metals are used for batteries, computers, generators, cell phones, and much more. As we transition to a renewable energy future, we will need hundreds to thousands of times more of these metals, which are composed of cobalt, manganese, nickel, and copper. Where will they come from? Will we continue to mine the land with all the deleterious impacts? Or can we get these metals in a more environmentally friendly way from the ocean in the form of poly-metallic nodules?

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