Geological survey of cobalt-rich ferro-manganese crusts

The systematic studies of cobalt-ferro-manganese mineralization in the World Ocean Russian have been conducted by Russian expeditions since the mid-eighties of the last century.
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The operations are predominantly concentrated in the north-western equatorial zone of the Pacific Ocean: Magellan Mountains, Marshall Islands, Marcus-Wake and Wake Necker uplifts.

The completed geological exploration found the potential of the underwater rock structures (guyots) in the Magellan mountains, where the operations of the further expeditions were concentrated in the purposes of survey and identification of industrially mineable ore clusters of CRFMC.

Since 2000 the surveys of cobalt-ferro-manganese mineralization in the area of the Magellan Mountains in the Pacific Ocean have been carried out by Yuzhmorgeologiya with application of the new generation technical systems: high-precision satellite navigation, areal bathymetric surveys of the seabed with multibeam sonar, benthic geoacoustic (sonar) acquisition, digital phototelevision acquisition, geological testing by drilling of low-depth wells, study of the sea current parameters with acoustic Doppler profilers .

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In 2000-2010 the conducted operations resulted in identification of promising CRFMC ore deposits, which further became the bodies for development of the application for approval of the plan of operations on exploration of the cobalt-rich ferro-manganese crusts (CRFMC).

On March 10, 2015 the International Seabed Authority and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Russian Federationsigned signed a contract for fifteen years for exploration of the cobalt-rich ferro-manganese crusts. The applied area received the status of the Russian Exploration Area of the cobalt-rich ferro-manganese crusts (REA-CRFMC).

The CRFMC exploration contract is to be performed stepwise in 2015-2030:

Stage 1 (2015-2019) – identification of priority areas for more detailed exploration in the purposes of delineating the possible deposits of cobalt-rich ferro-manganese crusts (prospecting operations)

Stage 2 (2020-2024) – selection of fields and deposits cobalt-rich ferro-manganese crusts to be developed in the future (assessments)

Stage 3 (2025-2030) – selection of the areas (blocks) for future development in the delineated fields of cobalt-rich ferro-manganese crusts and identification of mineable reserves of cobalt-rich ferro-manganese crusts taking into account the slope and compartmentalization of the seafloor, physical barriers, physical and mechanical characteristics of the substrate and other essential factors (exploration)

In recent years Yuzhmorgeologiya became to be an active participant of the state program of the Russian Federation "Reproduction and use of natural resources" (RUNR) within the framework of implementation of "Naval Doctrine of the Russian Federation for the period up to 2030". Thanks to participation in RUNR and FTP “The World Ocean” programs Yuzhmorgeologiya has become a leader in a number of research areas:

  • development and production of equipment and technologies for prospecting and exploration of solid commercial minerals in deepwater regions of the oceans and geologic-environmental studies of the environment: deepwater instrumentation sets MAK-1M, KADR-1, ASMOD, RT-1, RT-4000, RT-6000, MAK-Relief, Abyssal-C, "Neptun_TS O, UGI-ZHMK
  • information support to RUNR and elaboration of information packages on the shelf and the water areas in the World Ocean
The state program of the Russian Federation "Reproduction and use of natural resources"

The company participation in the programs of studies of the World Ocean became not only a powerful impetus to development of marine equipment and technology, but also provide an access to a vast array of the unique data. The studies enabled to lift the veil on many secrets of the ocean depths and take a fresh look at development of the “Hydro-Cosmos” concept.

For example, the fact that the pressure at a depth of 5-6 km 600 times greater than the pressure in the outer space is a certain evidence of a significant margin of safety provided for our research equipment successfully operating at such depths.


  • Region
    Atlantic Ocean
  • Type
    Geological surveys, foreign contract
  • Year
    ongoing project
  • Contractor
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