The project MINDeSEA results of the collaboration between eight GeoERA Partners and four Non-funded Organizations at various points of common interest for exploration and investigation on seafloor mineral deposits. This project addresses an integrative metallogenetic study of principal types of seabed mineral resources (hydrothermal sulfides, ferromanganese crusts, phosphorites, marine placers and polymetallic nodules) in the European Seas.

The MINDeSEA working group has both knowledge of and expertise in such types of mineralisation, providing exploration results, sample repositories and databases to produce innovative contributions. The importance of submarine mineralisation systems is related to the abundance and exploitation-potential of many strategic metals and Critical Raw Materials (CRM), necessary for the modern society development.

The geographical scope of the proposed work programme, with a pan-European ambition, includes all the regional seas around Europe,including Exclusive Economic Zones (EZZ) and Extended Continental Shelfs (ECS), comprising the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea (Fig. 1).

The objectives of this project are the following:

  1. Characterise deposit types.

  2. Characterise the trace element content of the deposit type including CRM.

  3. Identify the principal metallogenic provinces.

  4. Develop harmonised mineral maps and datasets of seabed deposits incorporating GSO datasets, along with mineral-potential and prospectivity maps.

  5. Demonstrate how the cases study results can be used in off-shore mineral exploration.

  6. Analyse present-day exploration and exploitation status in terms of regulation, legislation, environmental impacts, exploitation and future directions.

  7. Demonstrate efficiency of a pan-European research approach to understanding seabed minerals and modes of exploration.

Objectives

Figure 1
Figure 1

Pan European seas with delimitations of EZZ (yellow line) and ECS (pink line) for each country. EEZ limits based on Fanders Marine Institute (2018). Maritime Boundaries Geodatabase: Maritime Boundaries and Exclusive Economic Zones, version 11. ECS limits based on: http://continentalshelf.org

Figure 1
Figure 1

Pan European seas with delimitations of EZZ (yellow line) and ECS (pink line) for each country. EEZ limits based on Fanders Marine Institute (2018). Maritime Boundaries Geodatabase: Maritime Boundaries and Exclusive Economic Zones, version 11. ECS limits based on: http://continentalshelf.org

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