Marine Life Talk at NOC in Southampton – change to date and time this month

ROV sampling the seabed

PLEASE NOTE: Change to the usual Marine Life Talks programme, July's talk will take place on Tuesday, 4 July at 18:00

On 4 July, the NOC is hosting the EU Blue Mining group and key members of the group (the Principal Investigator and the Chief Engineer) will be giving two 25-minute presentations to the public in conjunction with their conference. This is a unique opportunity for the Marine Life Talk audience to quiz a panel of scientists and engineers about the subject.

Blue Mining

Exploring the deep-ocean floor for mineral deposits: risks and rewards – Bramley Murton

The National Oceanography Centre leads the UK research effort into seafloor mineral resources, and is currently engaged in developing and testing technologies for rapid and effective sea-floor mineral resource assessment, as well as investigating the environmental impact this may have.

This involves understanding the fate and preservation potential of seafloor massive sulphides, and determining what controls the distribution and composition of cobalt-rich crusts at a deposit scale. These rare earth elements are critical to securing a low-carbon future through technologies such as solar photovoltaic, wind turbines and electric vehicles.

At the NOC we are also looking the recovery timescale for ecosystems around potential sea-floor mining, as well as assessing mitigation strategies. The NOC aims to provide the best possible evidence to inform the decisions of policy makers.

During 2016 we spent nearly four months at sea in the mid-Atlantic testing and demonstrating new technologies, surveying and sampling the seafloor and drilling the sub-surface. Our aim for that expedition was to assess the geological processes around seafloor mineral deposits and develop methods to monitor the environmental impacts that will arise from seafloor mineral extraction.

The technical and environmental challenges of extracting deep-sea floor mineral deposits responsibly – Wiebe Boomsma

To fulfil the need for raw materials for a growing world population and increasing demand per person, especially for the developing countries, the step to deep sea mining seems to be inevitable. Securing the supply of critical metals is now a major element in Europe’s economic strategy. The European Union subsidized project Blue Mining was initiated mainly to advance deep sea mining technology beyond current technology readiness levels. The main components of the deep sea mining system are:

  • Seafloor Mining Tool (SMT)
  • Vertical Transport System (VTS)
  • Mining Support Vessel (MSV)

The presentation will discuss the challenges and solutions for mining polymetallic nodules in the deep sea. First the concepts for a deep sea mining vehicle will be discussed. The second part will give the concept for vertical hydraulic transport of mined material using subsea slurry pumps. Some focus will lay on the identification and development of critical components

About the speakers

Dr Bramley Murton, Associate Head of Marine Geosciences at the National Oceanography Centre, leads the marine minerals research team. He sits on the executive board of the EC-funded R&D programme ‘Blue Mining’, developing technologies for seafloor mineral resource exploration, assessment and extraction. He is also chief scientist for the international research project ‘MarineE-tech’ studying critical elements in ferromanganese-cobalt-rich crusts on the deep Atlantic seafloor. Bramley has a long track record in developing and deploying underwater robotic and autonomous technology for extreme environments.

Wiebe Boomsma, Manager Product Development, Royal IHC. Wiebe is responsible for all product development activities in the Mining department.

Core specialism:

  • Excavation technologies
  • Product Development
  • Dynamic Control systems

A large percentages of those activities occur within the EU subsidizes project, namely Midas (till 2016), Blue Mining and Blue Nodules.


Visiting the NOC: As the NOC is located within the Port of Southampton and entry is via Dock Gate 4 Port Security require all visitors bring along with them their confirmation ticket and a valid form of photographic ID (Driving License / Passport). The Port of Southampton is the Strategic Authority for the implementation of security within the port area where the NOC is located.

Or, click here to register for a ticket

Parking at NOC

There are a number of designated visitor parking spaces available at NOC. If these are full after 5pm please drive to the staff car parks barriers, access can be given by pressing the intercom button in the box next to the barrier, on requesting entry you will be asked for Name and Car Registration number and the barrier will be lifted.

Please do not park in areas not designated for parking and ensure roadways are kept clear.

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Marine Life Talks

These talks are held on the first Thursday of each month at 7pm in the Henry Charnock Lecture Theatre, National Oceanography Centre. Please sign in outside the lecture theatre on level four.

All talks are free and open to members of the public.

Next Marine Life Talk

PLEASE NOTE: There will not be a talk in August – the next Marine Life Talk will be 7 SEPTEMBER 2017.

Event dates: 
Tuesday 4 July 2017 - 18:00 to 19:15