Ocean Minerals LLC has identified areas of prospective potential for rare earth elements, including scandium, in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Cook Islands. The company has entered into an agreement with the government for exclusive rights to prospect and explore these areas.
Rare earth elements (REEs) are critical to the world’s most demanding high tech, green energy, and defence applications. New applications of REEs are constantly being discovered, including the use of scandium in the next generation of high strength aluminium alloys for aerospace applications.
The areas in the Cook Islands were discovered during a research study of alternative sources of REEs conducted by Houston-based Deep Reach Technology, Inc (DRT). Ocean Minerals has entered into a licensing agreement with DRT for engineering technology and information gained during the research study.
The research conducted by DRT involved analyses of existing archived seabed samples throughout the Pacific leading DRT to the discovery of these enriched sediments near the Cook Islands. DRT also performed laboratory tests on these samples and is working on an economic means of processing the sediments on board the production vessel at sea.
Ocean Minerals believes it has reserved the most promising areas and plans during the next few years to undertake several phases of seabed sampling which will incorporate the collection of environmental baseline data.
The areas reserved contain concentrations of scandium and heavy REEs. Ocean Minerals believes the scandium content has the potential to fuel a new aluminium-scandium alloy business serving the aerospace and automotive industries.
Scandium, when added in small quantities to aluminium, creates a metal alloy which is extremely light, strong, corrosion resistant, heat tolerant and weldable. The use of such an alloy in automobiles and aircraft could yield fuel savings while protecting lives. This application could lead to a reduction in carbon output serving to reduce sea level rise to which the Cook Islands is highly vulnerable.
Ocean Minerals, LLC is a Texas Limited Liability Company formed in 2016 with the goal to explore and develop ocean minerals in an environmentally sustainable manner utilising a precautionary approach and employing world-class technology and expertise.