Lying on the abyssal plains of oceans at depths of 3,500-6,000 meters, polymetallic nodules contain essential minerals used in the electric vehicle batteries fueling the energy transition. Enriched in manganese, nickel, copper, and cobalt, nodule fields of interest have been identified in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ), Penrhyn Basin, and Peru Basin of the Pacific Ocean as well as in the north Indian Ocean. Reserves of certain critical minerals found in the CCZ alone have been estimated to surpass global terrestrial reserves.
Aluminum is one of the foundational industrial materials of modern society, integral to everything from passenger airplanes to kitchen appliances. Recent U.S. legislative incentives – lead by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) – to produce more solar panels, EVs, electrical charging infrastructure, and other clean energy transition products will increase the demand for primary aluminum only further.