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Estimating the economics of a mining project on seafloor manganese nodules

Author

Listed:
  • Sebastian Ernst Volkmann

    (RWTH Aachen University)

  • Felix Lehnen

    (RWTH Aachen University)

  • Peter A. Kukla

    (RWTH Aachen University)

Abstract

The recent and renewed interest in deep-sea mining relates to the decrease of ore grades of known land-based deposits, the increasing costs in land-based mining, as well as rising metal prices, and an increased demand for strategic metals. This study examines the economic requirements for future commercial mining projects focusing on manganese nodules. Beside the common measures of profitability, the net present value (NPV), and the internal rate of return (IRR), an additional measure, the net profit (NP), is presented to indicate the profitability by considering past and future cost and price trends. Furthermore, the approach may be applied to determine the areas of commercial interest. The Blue Mining project in the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission serves as a reference case study. Having applied the developed methodology to a set of assumptions and estimates, results indicate that nodule mining projects would—at the time being and the foreseeable future—be launched at the verge of financial profitability.

Suggested Citation

  • Sebastian Ernst Volkmann & Felix Lehnen & Peter A. Kukla, 2019. "Estimating the economics of a mining project on seafloor manganese nodules," Mineral Economics, Springer;Raw Materials Group (RMG);Luleå University of Technology, vol. 32(3), pages 287-306, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:minecn:v:32:y:2019:i:3:d:10.1007_s13563-019-00169-4
    DOI: 10.1007/s13563-019-00169-4
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. Sebastian Ernst Volkmann & Thomas Kuhn & Felix Lehnen, 2018. "A comprehensive approach for a techno-economic assessment of nodule mining in the deep sea," Mineral Economics, Springer;Raw Materials Group (RMG);Luleå University of Technology, vol. 31(3), pages 319-336, October.
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