Update on Patania II trial
May 14, 2020
As announced on 21 March 2019, GSR had to postpone the trial of its purpose-built prototype nodule collector due to damage caused to the vehicle’s communications and power cable (umbilical). Since then, GSR has completed a thorough root-cause analysis, the issues have been resolved and a new trial is being planned with a new winch and umbilical combination. The launch of Patania II overlaps with a four-year independent transnational scientific research project initiated through JPI Oceans (2018-2022), to which GSR remains fully committed. Both teams have been working together to maintain focus on the overall goal of studying the environmental aspects of the seafloor minerals industry for the benefit of all potential users of such scientific information. As scheduled in the JPI Oceans project, research has been conducted to gather adequate environmental baseline information from both the Belgian (GSR) and German (BGR) contract areas within the Clarion Clipperton Zone, where the Patania II trial will take place. After the trial, both areas will also be revisited to study potential effects on the deep-sea ecosystems and their environments. Since our news release in March last year, BGR decided to include the JPI Oceans monitoring studies within their exploration program. The next trial was planned for October and November 2020. However, due to COVID-19 disruptions, BGR suggested postponing their offshore campaign until early 2021. In line with its commitment to an open, transparent, and scientifically rigorous testing program, GSR has also agreed to postpone the launch of the Patania II expedition to ensure independent scientific monitoring of the trial will still take place. GSR will—in collaboration with JPIO II—invite independent scientists to join the mission and monitor its activities when Patania II launches in due course. GSR remains focused on the successful collection of polymetallic nodules from the seafloor and believes that responsible nodule collection can help meet future metal demand and provide an environmentally and socially responsible alternative to the development of land-based mineral resources. GSR’s commitment to this vision is unwavering. Further announcements will be made once a new launch schedule for Patania II is confirmed.