Geological survey of iron-manganese concretions

The exploration of the oceanic floor for ferromanganese nodules was started by RPA Yuzhmorgeologiya in 1978, when the company became the leading organization in the area "Prospecting of solid commercial minerals (SCM) in the the World Ocean.”

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Краткая история исследований

В 1978-1980 arrangement of new promising projects for development of technical tools and technologies for remote (geoacoustic, phototelevision) and contact (geological and geotechnical testing) surveys of ore potential in the oceanic floor

Конкреция, вид сверху

1980 – the first FMN prospecting travel of teh research vessel "Dmitry Laptev" in the south-eastern part of the Indian Ocean in the area of the fault "Diamantina". The travel resulted in discovery of a large accumulation of ferro-manganese nodules in the western part of the South Australian Basin and on the northern slope of the Southeast Indian Ridge

1980 - 1987 – performance of large-scale integrated geological and geophysical surveys of ore-bearing potential on the floor of the Pacific and Indian Oceans

1988 – discovery of the deposits of polymetall nodules unique in terms of the ore composition and quality in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone of the Pacific Ocean. Receipt of a certificate for the right to perform the operations in the dedicated licensed area of 75 000 km2, which ensured the legal rights for the Russian Federation for the area exploration and development

1994 – assignment of RPA Yuzhmorgeologiya by a Decree of the President of the Russian Federation to be the developer of mineral resources in the area of the seafloor dedicated by ISA in the Pacific Ocean

2001 – ISA and Yuzhmorgeologiya a contract for fifteen years for exploration of polymetallic ores in the Russian Exploration Area (REA-FMN)

2007-2016 гг. – на площади РРР-ЖМК проводились планомерные поисково-разведочные (оценочные) работы:

  • На семи участках Восточного полигона общей площадью 31780 км2 (около 42 % от площади РРР-ЖМК) выполнены комплексные площадные работы с целью локализации прогнозных ресурсов категории Р1 в контуре скоплений ЖМК. В целом по РРР-ЖМК прогнозные ресурсы влажной руды оценены в объеме 551,2 млн. т
  • По результатам работ на изученной площади РРР-ЖМК выделены первоочередные объекты для более детальных разведочных работ: на площади крупной высокоперспективной рудной залежи плащеобразного типа выделен первый пятилетний блок добычного района
Results of 2019

The key objective of the surveys in 2019 was the assessment of the resource potential and identification of promising areas within the delineated fields of the nodules and estimation of the deposits in the Western section of the Eastern traverse in the Russian Exploration Area.

Конкреция, срез

Yuzhmorgeologiya completed the geological exploration stage of the operations within the area of 813 sq. km:

  • bathymetry surveys in the area of 240 km2 by benthic multibeam echo sounder along with the geoacoustic profiling with application of MAK-Relief tool in the scope of 543.3 km2, completion of 21 profiles
  • phototelevision acquisition of 80.2 km, completion of 7 phototelevision profiles
  • geological sampling of FMN ore deposits, completion of 52 sampling stations with ordinary testing by a box-corer
  • associated studies of the marine environment parameters

The works resulted in delineation of 6 ore fields, where were identified 2 FMN ore deposits regarded to be promising in terms of future development. The total area of promising deposits attained 485 km2

Similar operations were started in the area of 480 km2 of the Russian Exploration Area of FMN, including collection, systematization, analysis and synthesis of the data from previously performed geological, geophysical and geochemical surveys.

The FMN prospecting operations in the exploration area are divided into four stages:

Stage 1 – selection of priority areas for detailed exploration

Stage 2 – identification of the deposits and reserves of the nodules to be developed in the future

Stage 3 – selection of mineable areas (blocks) in the delineated fields of the nodules and identification of the mineable reserves of the nodules

Stage 4 – determining mining rout out lines within the boundaries of promising mining blocks


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