Identification of representative west coast areas for manganese nodule processing activities Public

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  • Manganese nodules are concretions which are widely distributed on the bottom of marine waters as well as on the bottom of some lakes. They vary in size, abundance, and to some extent composition, with location. The nodules are of potential economic value because of the nickel, copper, cobalt and manganese they contain. The nodule deposits of greatest economic interest are found in the North Pacific Ocean, from the equator to about 30°N. The area extends from 100°W to 180°W (see Figure 1.1). The water in this region varies from about 7500 feet to 17,600 feet (2,300 m to 7,000 m) in depth with an average of about 16,400 feet (5,000 m). The region is mostly an abyssal plain; however, it is intercepted by the Clarion and Clipperton Fracture Zones. Deep ocean mining of manganese nodules is anticipated by the early 1980's. First generation mining activities will consist of mining vessels, large bulk ore carriers and onshore processing facilities. The processing and associated activities will probably be located on the U.S. Pacific coast (including Hawaii and Alaska) or the Gulf Coast.
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