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Blue Mining: Breakthrough Solutions for the Sustainable Exploration and Extraction of Deep Sea Mineral Resources

Funding Programme:

European Commission


Completion Year:


Contact Person(s):

Project Coordinator
MTI Holland BV
Dr. Jort van Wijk (JM[dot]vanWijk[at]ihcmti[dot]com)

Implementation Period:
Specific Funding Programme:

European Union Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under Grant Agreement no. 604500.


Overall budget: €14,741,716
EU contribution: €9,999,999

About the Project:

Earth provides natural resources, such as fossil fuels and minerals that are vital for human life. As the global demand grows, especially for strategic metals, commodity prices rapidly rise. Thus there is an identifiable risk of increasing supply shortage for metals identified as critical to Europe’s economy. Hence a major element in Europe’s long-term economic strategy must be, to ensure security of supply for these strategic metals. In this rapidly changing global economic landscape, mining in the deep sea has gone from a distant possibility to a likely reality within just a decade. Although deep sea minerals extraction was investigated in the 1970’s, it was abandoned because of changing commodity economics, advances in on-land exploration techniques, growing concern on environmental impact and political and legal aspects with regard to ownership issues. The developmental data from those days, if still available, are not adequate to allow engineering and building of an integral system for extraction of deep sea minerals without additional RTD work. Thus, deep sea mining is yet to attain a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) sufficient to successfully undertake deep sea mining operations, from resource discovery to resource assessment and to resource exploitation.


The overall objective of Blue Mining is to provide breakthrough solutions for a sustainable deep sea mining value chain. This means to develop the technical capabilities to adequately and cost-effectively discover, assess and extract deep sea mineral deposits up to 6,000 m water depths as this is the required range where valuable seafloor mineral resources are found. The control over these three capabilities is the key for access to raw materials, for decreasing EU dependency on resource imports and for strengthening Europe’s mining sector and their technology providers.

Download the latest project publications and work package reports.

Project partners

  • IHC MTI BV - Coordinator (NL);
  • Dredging International, DEME Group (BE);
  • Bundesanstalt Fuer Geowissenschaften Und Rohstoffe (DE);
  • Helmholtz Zentrum Fur Ozeanforschung Kiel (DE);
  • Ramboll GMBH (DE);
  • Stichting Maritiem Research Instituut Nederland (NL);
  • Natural Environment Research Council (UK);
  • Norges Teknisk-Naturvitenskapelige Universitet NTNU (NO);
  • Rheinisch-Westfaelische Technische Hochschule Aachen (DE);
  • Technische Universitaet Bergakademie Freiberg (DE);
  • Technische Universiteit Delft (NL);
  • Fundacao Da Faculdade De Ciencias Da Universidade De Lisboa FP (PT);
  • University Of Southampton (UK);
  • Shipyards and Maritime Equipment Association of Europe (BE);
  • IHC Mining BV (NL);
  • 2H Offshore Engineering Limited (UK);
  • Nederlandse Organisatie Voor Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek TNO (NL);
  • Uniresearch BV (NL);
  • GuardshiP BVBA (BE).