Through UKSR Loke operates two exploration licences in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ) in the Pacific Ocean, covering an area of 133,000 km2 at a water depth of 4 – 5,000 meters. The CCZ is the most prospective area in the world for Deep Sea Minerals.
The International Seabed Authority (ISA) and UK Seabed Resources (UKSR) signed contracts for exploration of polymetallic nodules in the eastern (UK1) and central (UK2) Clarion Clipperton Zone in February 2013 and March 2016 respectively.
Under these contracts, UKSR has exclusive rights for exploration activities for a period of 15 years.
Current resource estimate for the two licences is 750 million dry tons of polymetallic nodules. These numbers are expected to be revised upwards following new resource surveys planned for the coming years. Current nodule resource estimate corresponds to:
Nickel resources – 10 million tons
Cobalt resources – 1.4 million tons
Copper resources – 8 million tons
Manganese resources – 210 million tons
Since securing the two exploration licences UKSR has worked with a team of world-leading scientists to build knowledge and understanding of the abyssal environment. Three research cruises have been undertaken in the Pacific Ocean Clarion-Clipperton Zone, with the latest in 2020. The environmental surveys have generated over 57,000 images of the seafloor and collected in excess of 27,000 biological samples and observations.
To date over 70 peer-reviewed academic papers and conference presentations have been produced on the basis of data gathered during the initial two cruises. The samples collected on the third cruise are still in research labs for analysis and future reporting of findings.
Alongside the environmental research programme, UKSR has continued to refine its knowledge of the resources available in its two licence areas, progress its technology roadmap, and deliver its training plan.