Maersk sells stake in deep sea mining company TMC amid legalization process Ship’s crew

Global shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk is reportedly selling its stake in The Metals Company (TMC), a leading deep-sea mining company, as the legal process to permit seabed mining nears completion.

Maersk’s stake in TMC has fallen below 2.3% as the company plans to sell all remaining stake, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. The shipping company held a 9% stake in TMC in 2021 and has been an investor since 2017, the report said.

Deep-sea mining has attracted attention for its potential to extract key metals such as cobalt and nickel from rocks on the seafloor, known as polymetallic nodules, needed to manufacture the batteries used to support the rollout of electric vehicles and support the renewable Energy transition.

Proponents of deep-sea mining argue that the practice could alleviate bottlenecks and address humanitarian and environmental concerns associated with traditional mining methods. However, critics have raised concerns about the environmental impact.

Maersk entered into a contract with TMC five years ago to provide shipping services, with payment for the contract being in the form of shares, which Maersk is now selling. In 2022, TMC reported that Maersk’s ships were unsuitable for mining operations and instead signed a contract with engineering firm Allseas Group.

Deep sea mining applicants face uncertainty

TMC originally intended to start mining in the second half of this year but is now prepared to wait until a mining code is finalized by the United Nations-backed International Seabed Authority (ISA), which was originally expected by July of this year.

However, at a meeting in March, the ISA and its member states failed to reach an agreement on how to regulate seabed mining, with concerns over royalty payments and environmental damage being central. Further meetings are planned for late July and October.

TMC, listed on the Nasdaq exchange, has lost over 90% of its value since its IPO in 2021.

More and more governments are turning against the rush to deep-sea mining

Last October, The Metals Company announced that it had successfully collected polymetallic nodules from the Pacific Ocean seabed in a trial of a new nodule collection system, marking the first such test at the Clarion Clipperton (CCZ) metal-rich zone since the 1970s represents . The collection system was designed by Allseas and will be deployed aboard the company’s deep-sea polymetallic nodule collection vessel Hidden Gema converted ultra-deepwater drillship.

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