First observed 30 years ago, high-temperature hot springs (black smokers) on the deep ocean floor are precipitating mounds and columnar edifices (chimneys) of copper, zinc, lead, iron and silver sulphides, gold and other major and minor elements. Some deposits are of sufficient size and metal content to be considered for mining. Canadians have played important roles in their geological and geophysical exploration and evaluation.
Steven Scott is a pioneer in the study of these seafloor massive sulphide (SMS) deposits and is the co-discoverer of the Solwara site in the Manus basin of the Bismarck Sea offshore eastern Papua New Guinea. Nautilus Minerals, a headquartered in Toronto, intends to mine the site when the global financial crisis abates and metal prices rebound.
Dr. Scott will present an overview of this new type of mineral resource, emphasizing exploration strategies, proposed robotic mining methods, environmental issues unique to these deposits and future prospects for continued commercialization.