Given the active growth of emerging technology industries, it has become essential to have large quantities of critical metals to meet the current demand. In the Chilean mining industry, there is a depletion of high-grade mineral ores, and there is hence a need to increase production levels in the copper industry and diversify its market by extracting other elements. One of the strategies is to foster the production of lithium batteries, but the manufacture requires reserves of cobalt (Co) and manganese (Mn). Currently, Co reserves are not being exploited in Chile, and Mn production is almost negligible. This is due to the apparent shortage of high-grade ores on the land surface of the country. Given this scenario, the seabed manganese nodules are presented as a good alternative due to their high average grades of Co and Mn, which in turn would allow the growth of strategic value-added industries including lithium battery production. Chile’s current environmental regulations prevent the exploitation of marine resources. However, given technological advances worldwide, both in collection mechanisms and extractive processes, in addition to the needs generated from the future strategic plans, leads us to think about a project to exploit manganese nodules locally.
- Chilean marine deposits
- Manganese nodules