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Doesn’t sound right this, just doesn’t

Norway is set to become the first country in the world to allow commercial deep-sea mining after overcoming opposition from green campaigners.

The Nordic nation’s parliament is expected to approve opening up 108,000 square miles of its national waters, an area bigger than the size of the UK, to lithium and cobalt licences in a vote on Tuesday.

Lithium? From those seabed nodules? Sounds a little odd. Copper, cobalt, manganese, nickel, sure. But lithium? Think someone’s misread the press release there. Or the Weegies are even more odd than I thought.

16 thoughts on “Doesn’t sound right this, just doesn’t”

  1. Any lithium on the seabed would explosively react with the water around it. Did none of these people notice the bangs in Chemistry at school? Maybe they’ve misunderstood lithium ions dissolved in the sea water itself, which is possible to extract.

  2. “In early 2023, the Norwegian Offshore Directorate published a report concluding that “substantial resources are in place on the seabed” including minerals such as copper, zinc and cobalt.” That’s from, so Tim is broadly right, someone has misunderstood a press release mentioning renewables.

  3. Bloke in North Dorset

    The Zeit Online article I’ve just been reading doesn’t mention lithium, but it does mention manganese crusts, so if there is some it could it be hiding in there? (Chemistry has never been a strong point)

  4. Wasn’t the whole ‘mining nodules of metals off the ocean floor’ thing a front for the CIA’s recovery of a Russian sub off Hawaii? Sea floor mining was never really a thing at all, just the reason they gave for the recovery ship to be where it was.

  5. It was, but tech has advanced. It’s a real possibility now. Company called TMC seems to have proven that it can work. Maybe, anyway. The base argument is that *if* they can be raised economically then it’s trivial to process them. It’s the if that matters.

  6. Li metal, yes. But Li oxide dissolves in water. Which is why you can extract it from seawater (entirely possible, just not economic as yet) and also why it wouldn’t concentrate into those nodules.

  7. Like sodium, the obvious lithium salts, carbonate, sulphate, nitrate are all soluble in water so not much chance of it concentrating in nodules. I suppose that other metal salts like chromate or manganate could be insoluble but my O-level chemistry never got that far and I can’t be arsed to look it up.

  8. Point of order m’lud:
    Weegies = Glaswegian ( often indicated by the rising whine on approach)

    Noggins/ Woodentops= Norwegians.

  9. I worked on a similar project not long ago. The tech is mature enough now with semi autonomous mining machines. It’s nickel and manganese. No chance it’s lithium.

  10. As others have pointed out, that’s elemental (metallic) lithium…

    When people talk about extracting lithium, they’re not talking about finding the pure metallic stuff any more than when people talk about extracting iron or aluminium.

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