“Oceanography: Mining Mineral In The Ocean” is an issue of the Science Screen Report, presented by United Technologies Sikorsky Aircraft, that discusses the potential and problems of have deep-sea mining for minerals. The issue opens with shots of the sea, which is a “reserve of global resources,” including metals from deep-sea nodules (polymetallic nodules). These nodules cover vast areas of the sea bottom, and their potential is the reason for a major deep-ocean project being carried out. Deep Sea Nodules can be the size of potatoes, and their porous structure accumulates layers of various metals. They are very slow growing, but sizeable nodules cover areas of the sea floor, providing a significant reserve of metals. As part of the project to determine the mining feasibility of nodules, the first self-propelled robot miner (01:38) is developed and tested. Scientists examine nodules in a lab (02:52), but to answer a number of questions surrounding them, the National Science Foundation uses Research Vessel Melvillle (03:12) to carry out underwater tests. Members of the crew lower sound beacons to create a grid (03:35). Then a robot mapping vehicle is lowered into the water to gather data within the grid. In the control room (04:10), the team monitors the robot’s data. The next step is the collection of sea floor samples (05:08); a box corer is lowered into the water to gather sample nodules, transporting nodules and their environment to the surface. Scientists examine the contents, conduct tests, and record data. The results indicate nodules may grow similar to coral. Next, piston corers (06:52) are used to take out samples of core sections of the floor to add to the mission’s overall understanding. After two weeks, the samples and data are collected, stored, and made accessible to over 50 research centers throughout the world. The next phase involves exploration ship Governor Ray (08:06), which monitors a sea mining research site, and Glomar Explorer (08:22), a surface platform ship (originally built as a deep-sea recovery platform for the CIA as part of Project Azorian also known as Project Jennifer) with an internal dry dock that holds the advanced robot miner. The crew preps for launch day by filling the dry dock, opening the doors (11:00), and moving the robot miner into the water. The robot miner hangs under the ship as pipe attachments are installed, connecting the miner and processor to transport nodule slurry. The robot miner is positioned and the processor is attached to it, enabling the mining operation to begin (12:18). Sonar and TV images show how easily the miner collects nodules as is moves across sea floor capturing images and harvesting nodules, which are crushed into a slurry and piped up to the ship. A commercial miner would be 10 times the size of the robot miner, but the smaller robot miner is the first step in the eventual commercial mining of the sea’s unique nodules.
Background on this ... historic film is that it shows techniques used to conduct deep ocean mining of the sea floor, which were pioneered in the 1960s. The potential for this type of mining (particularly of manganese nodules) was never fully realized. Ironically, the program did end up providing the cover for the USNS Hughes Glomar Explorer (T-AG-193), a deep-sea drillship platform built for the United States Central Intelligence Agency Special Activities Division secret operation Project Azorian to recover the sunken Soviet submarine K-129, lost in April 1968. Hughes Glomar Explorer (HGE), as the ship was called at the time, was built between 1973 and 1974, by Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Co. for more than US$350 million at the direction of Howard Hughes for use by his company, Global Marine Development Inc. This is equivalent to $1.67 billion in present-day terms. She set sail on 20 June 1974. Hughes told the media that the ship's purpose was to extract manganese nodules from the ocean floor. This marine geology cover story became surprisingly influential, spurring many others to examine the idea. But in sworn testimony in United States district court proceedings and in appearances before government agencies, Global Marine executives and others associated with Hughes Glomar Explorer project unanimously maintained that the ship could not be used in any economically viable ocean mineral operation.
This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com