Sciences: the seabed, a coveted source for its minerals

In the harbor of Toulon (Var), the Atalante, a ship of the French-Oceanic fleet, is going on a scientific mission in the Atlantic. The crew is busy around Victor, an underwater robot capable of diving to a depth of 6,000 m. Scientists seek to understand how life develops on the seabed, and what kind of minerals and metals are present. In Brest (Finistère), in the premises of Ifremer, the specialty of Ewan Pelletier is to analyze the pieces of the chimneys of the seabed; in particular, there is calcium useful for photovoltaic cells.

Useful metals for the energy transition

It is difficult to assess the wealth of the deep seas. Several countries covet them. The Canadian company TMC is interested in polymetallic nodules, useful for electrifying cars. But what are the consequences for the environment? Each new campaign is an opportunity to discover new species. An entire ecosystem would therefore be threatened. The bottoms still bear the traces of the nodule collecting machine. Can we consider an exploit while limiting the damage? Scientists need time to answer this question.

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