Marine mining as an activity forms a major part of underwater exploration in the present era. However, the process of mining in the high seas is not an easy activity to carry out. In order to make sure that the process of mining is carried out effectively with optimum results, the technology needs to be best.
In addition to technology, the other most important requirement of high seas’ mining is of the right kind of vessel. This is where the mining ships come in.
What are Mining Ships?
The simplest answer to ‘what are mining ships?’ would be that these vessels are the ones which are utilised during a mining operation in the high seas. The ships for mining need to be specialised so that the mining operations are not disrupted by the unpredictable weather conditions that generally prevail, while have the facilities to dig deep into ocean’s floor.
This factor brings the answer to the next question of ‘how mining ships work?’
Mine ships are fitted with all the latest available technologies to carry out the necessary work. This also includes technologies to suit the mining operations alongside state-of-the-art gadgetries like dynamic positioning systems and vessel tracking equipment.
Mining vessels can be classified mainly into two categories: one where the mined raw materials are carried through a set of pipes and the second where the ship is positioned directly above the subsea excavation site.
The length of mine ships ranges from anywhere over 300 feet to about 500 feet. Even their speed is pre-set to a maximum of about 11 knots. Since these vessels have to remain steady in the oceanic waters where they are deployed, attaining higher speed levels is regarded to be less of a priority.
There are various kinds of mining vessels utilised to excavate different minerals and metals. While gold and silver form two of the main metals excavated from the oceanic reservoir, marine mining of diamonds comes under an altogether different class.
Featuring quite prominently in the list of diamond mining activities is the Dutch conglomerate De Beers. The company has established a wide array of mining operations in Africa and even Canada. The conglomerate’s Peace in Africa is a remarkable vessel used for mining.
The ship, originally named as Dock Express, was built in the early 1980s. De Beers put the vessel into operation in the late 2000s and in the present times, Peace in Africa is regarded to be singular and quite incomparable.
Mining ships can be operated only in those areas where subsea mining is permitted by the marine law-making authorities – national as well as international. As it is, there have emerged several reports of such activities harming the deepwater ecosystem. But even as these stories come up, it cannot be denied that mining in the high seas is a huge source of revenue generation not just for a conglomerate but also for the people employed for the course of the mining operations.