Sea Technology

AUG 2017

The industry's recognized authority for design, engineering and application of equipment and services in the global ocean community

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10 st / August 2017 www.sea-technology.com T here has been an increased interest in marine minerals and mining in recent years. An industrial seafloor min- ing project is expected to go through the same four phases as an oil and gas field (or onshore mining operation): resource exploration, field (mine) development, production and decommissioning. One of the most interesting marine resources is seafloor massive sulphides or SMS deposits. The following steps are required for SMS exploration: area se- lection and tenement acquisition, initial survey, exploration, resource drilling and resource definition. The drill rig described in this article is intended for the final stages of SMS ex- ploration, when promising areas are identified, and can be deployed as a less expensive preparation to resource drill- ing, which requires deeper penetration and is more resource intensive. Operations on mid-ocean ridges usually require a lot of resources, and any downtime can have serious economic impacts. Important design criteria for the drill rig were that it, therefore, should be simple, robust and possible to use from standard work-class ROVs. Background The Solwara project in Papua New Guinea by Nautilus Minerals has used both drilling vessels and seabed drill rigs for exploration of SMS deposits. The surface-driven derrick drill rig was reported to be successful; however, this method had low core recovery in the high-grade, near-surface sec- tions of the SMS deposits. Several versions of the ROVdrill, developed by Perry Slingsby Systems, now a Forum Energy Technologies company, have been deployed, and the ROV- drill has recorded a drilling depth of 52 m. The RD2 system by BGS and NERC is also a multibarrel system, designed to drill down to 55-m depth. The drill itself is described to have a mass of 6 tons; including all auxiliary systems, 80 tons of equipment is necessary for sampling. The MARUM Low-Cost Drilling for Deep-Sea Minerals Exploration Remotely Operated Coring System with Simple Setup By Dr. Fredrik Søreide • Dr. Martin Ludvigsen • Mike Williamson ROCS drilling system overview.

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