The bottom of the world’s ocean contains a large amount of reserves of precious metals and other resources. Seabed mining has the potential to meet the demand for various minerals that are used across the globe. Mining could take place in a country’s own exclusive economic zone or on the seafloor under international waters, where the International Seabed Authority mandates that a portion of all mining profits should be given to developing nations.
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Currently, the global demand for copper stands at around 24 million metric tons. Majority of copper is used in electrical and electronic products, construction materials, and traditional transportation equipment. Metals such as zinc and manganese and rare earth materials such as cobalt are used in high-tech devices (from cell phones to computers). Advanced technologies are being adopted increasingly across the globe. This is expected to boost the demand for these materials in the near future. Supply of these materials on land is relatively limited.
Rapid Industrialization in Developing Nations
Manufacturing and service industries have been expanding in developing countries such as India, China, Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Brazil since the last few years. Construction and shipbuilding industries in Asia Pacific have been expanding at a rapid pace due to the significant increase in number of projects. This is anticipated to propel the demand for metals and minerals.
Increase in disposable income and rise in demand for durable goods such as automobiles and household equipment with high mineral or metal content are estimated to fuel the market. Furthermore, several international developers plan to set up their businesses in emerging economies through FDI incentive schemes. This is estimated to indirectly boost the economies of countries and industrialization. Rise in industrialization is projected to propel the marine mining market, primarily due to the increase in demand for metal products.
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Mining on land creates environmental concerns, while there are multiple additional potential environmental issues with marine mining. Physical disturbance and destruction of habitat and fauna are key concerns that can adversely impact marine eco-systems. Areas with polymetallic nodules are natural habitats for fauna, which are susceptible to damage from mining activities. Modification of natural waves is a concern. Potential for pollution from spills from vessels and other infrastructure involved in deep sea mining processes is also a concern. Presence of such environmental issues is likely to hamper the market during the forecast period.
Introduction of Internet of Things (IoT) Solutions in Mining
Deployment of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions in the mining industry has substantially improved the operating environment in the last few years. IoT solutions range from big data analytics for predictive maintenance to digital tailings monitoring for operational safety. Big data analytics has become the buzzword in the mining industry. Recently, IBM unveiled a big data analytics tool, through which mining companies can monitor wear and tear, thereby ensuring uninterrupted performance of mining equipment and prevention of failure. Real-time data analytics and predictive analytics improve quality and efficiency of daily operations by providing data on equipment history, such as equipment maintenance, repair history, and fuel consumption rates, in real time. Therefore, mining companies are increasingly implementing analytics solutions to enhance machine reliability and efficiency. This, in turn, is encouraging providers of smart mining solutions to introduce advanced analytic solutions. Hence, introduction of internet of things (IoT) solutions in mining provides an opportunity for marine mining service providers.
Asia Pacific Marine Mining Market to Expand at Rapid Pace
Asia Pacific dominated the global marine mining market in 2017. It is the most populated region in the world. It is a home to around 50% of the world’s total population. Construction and electronic sectors are expanding at a rapid pace in the region. Hence, demand for metals and minerals is increasing rapidly. In order to meet the rising demand, most countries in Asia Pacific are shifting toward marine mining. In 2014, the International Seabed Authority and Japan Oil, Gas And Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) of Japan signed a 15-year contract for the exploration of cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts. As per the contract, JOGMEC is likely have exclusive rights for exploration of cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts over 3,000 square kilometers of the seabed in the Western Pacific.
Highly Competitive Market with Dominance of Top Players
The report comprises profiles of major companies operating in the global marine mining market. Key players operating in the global market are Nautilus Minerals Inc., Neptune Minerals, UK Seabed Resources, Keppel Corporation Limited, Soil Machine Dynamics Ltd, Royal IHC, Ocean Minerals, LLC, Diamond Fields Resources Inc., DeepGreen Metals Inc., and China Minmetals Corporation.
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