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Aronnax: A new ship type is born

Aronnax: A new ship type is born

THE world’s first bespoke underwater deepsea mining support vessel is under construction in China. The aim is to build and outfit it in three years.

It highlights the way innovation in shipping can be the application of a new use for shipping, as much as a new piece of technology for improving existing shipping.

Offshore activity has seen some incredible developments in ship designs in recent years. Not only has the search for oil and gas in deeper waters driven innovation, but so has the advent of an offshore windfarm industry and the new vessels designed to support that industry. Now it’s mining.

The company behind this new vessel, Nautilus Minerals, want to use it to lower mining equipment to the deep seabed and extract the surface rocks, where certain rare metals can be found.

Canada's Nautilus Minerals is the first company to seek to commercially extract gold, silver, zinc and copper. These are found concentrated in ore deposits known as seafloor massive sulphide deposits that seep through the earth’s surface on to the seabed.

The support vessel that is being built for this is one of the most advanced that has been ordered. Not only is it probably one of the most powerful vessels, but also the deck equipment it will have installed on board is second to none.

In short, this vessel will hover over an underwater mine site, using dynamic positioning, while huge industrial equipment on the seabed grinds up the rock before forming a slurry that can be pumped up the kilometre-long tube to the vessel.

The seafloor processing tools consist of an axillary cutter to prepare the terrain, a bulk cutter that will cut and grind it up, and a collecting machine that creates the slurry and pumps it to a subsea pump, which will push it up to the vessel’s riser and lift system.

The slurry is extracted from the water and loaded into the vessel's huge main cargo holds ahead of being offloaded in a ship-to-ship transfer to a vessel that will take it ashore for processing.

The water from the slurry will be cleaned and returned down the pipes and used to power the huge pumps needed to send rocks 1.5km up a vertical pipe. ...more....

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Nice!  I have not bought in a while.  Saving up for a setback.  I have a feeling I can get one nice buy before the next 33 months.


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