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A stochastic techno-economic assessment of seabed mining of polymetallic nodules in the Clarion Clipperton Fracture Zone
Van Nijen, K.; Van Passel, S.; Squires, D. (2018). A stochastic techno-economic assessment of seabed mining of polymetallic nodules in the Clarion Clipperton Fracture Zone. Mar. Policy 95: 133-141.
In: Marine Policy. Elsevier: UK. ISSN 0308-597X; e-ISSN 1872-9460, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Seabed mining; Financial payment regime; Polymetallic nodules;Sensitivity analysis; Exploitation regulations; International SeabedAuthority

Authors  Top 
  • Van Nijen, K., more
  • Van Passel, S., more
  • Squires, D.

    Polymetallic nodules found in the Clarion Clipperton Fracture Zone in the NE Pacific contain more nickel, manganese and cobalt than all terrestrial reserves combined. Following the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention and its 1994 Implementing Agreement, the resources of the international seabed beyond the limits of national jurisdiction will be developed for the benefit of mankind by attracting investment and technology, whilst demanding that necessary measures be taken to ensure effective protection of the marine environment. To date, no single commercial seabed mining activity has taken place in international waters, and the development of balanced and stimulating exploitation regulation is needed, based on accurate economic analysis. This paper presents the first detailed, vertically integrated, stochastic techno-economic assessment from a contractor's perspective, and contributes to the development of the world's first exploitation regulations. The economic performance measured by the internal rate of return was compared using deterministic and probabilistic commodity price forecasting models. Different levels of a financial payment regime, comprising of a royalty payment and a payment to internalize environmental costs, were considered. When real growth was included, the internal rate of return remains above the hurdle rate when a transitional, total-cost, financial payment regime is below 2 per cent during the initial period and below 4 per cent for the remaining tenure period. Following a 10-year moving average of commodity prices, including real growth, a 77.51 per cent probability was calculated of achieving a hurdle rate of 18 per cent.

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