ABS grants first AIP for deep-sea mining vessel to CMI

Classification and technical advisory body ABS has awarded China Merchants Industry (CMI) Approval in Principle (AIP) for its deep-sea mining system design.

Illustration: Courtesy: CMI

The AIP follows publication of the ABS Guide for Subsea Mining in October 2020 and is the first that conforms to the new Guide.

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Specifically, CMI’s design focuses on retrieving cobalt-rich ferromanganese crust deposits attached to seamounts. The project ultimately entails development of subsea mining machines, high concentration and large particle slurry lifting systems and offshore mining support vessels.

“Demand for resources to support the low carbon economy means sustainable subsea mining will increasingly be viewed as a key technology,” said Matt Tremblay, ABS Senior vice president, Global Offshore.

“CMI is taking an important step in the development of a subsea mining system and we look forward to continuing cooperation with CMI in this important field,” Tremblay also said.

CMI tested the prototype of the deep-sea mining vehicle in September on the seabed 1,300 meters below the South China Sea and also completed the first joint operation test with a manned submersible.

“We really appreciate ABS support and assistance in the development of this subsea mining design,” said Xian-Fu Hu, CMI general manager.

In October 2020, ABS published the Guide for Subsea Mining, detailing class requirements for the design, construction, operation, and also survey of mobile offshore mining units. The publication follows global interest in resources on the sea floor to support the emerging low carbon economy.