Moana Minerals secures Cook Islands exploration licence

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Moana Minerals Limited has been awarded an exploration licence by the Cook Islands Seabed Minerals Authority.

The exploration license grants Moana with exclusive rights for a period of five years to explore for cobalt- and nickel-rich polymetallic nodules within an area measuring 23,630 square kilometres entirely within the boundaries of the Cook Islands Exclusive Economic Zone.

In a statement today, Hans Smit, OML’s President and chief executive officer said: “The growing demand for ethically sourced cobalt, nickel, and other critical raw materials is undeniable and is unlikely to be met by land based mine supply alone. Land based mining companies, battery manufacturers, and even some automakers are looking for new sources of battery metals and deep seabed minerals can be this supply source,” said

“As we work together with Cook Islanders and the Seabed Minerals Authority to conduct the environmental studies and technology development needed to responsibly recover these resources, Moana will position itself as a responsible industry leader,” he added.

Moana Minerals is a Cook Islands registered company and a wholly-owned subsidiary of American parent company Ocean Minerals LLC (“OML”).

During the exploration period, Moana will collect environmental baseline data from the deepsea ecosystem to form a basis for an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA), recover quantities of nodules for metallurgical processing studies, and collect additional geologic samples to increase the size and confidence of its resource estimate which, based on existing data, is estimated to be the largest undeveloped cobalt resource in the world. Moana will be in regular communications with the Cook Islands community and the Seabed Minerals Authority to share updates on its programme, including data gathered in the course of exploration.

This award also triggers the closing of a definitive agreement entered into between Moana’s parent company, Ocean Minerals LLC, and Transocean Limited (NYSE: RIG), under which Transocean will acquire a non-controlling minority equity interest in Ocean Minerals LLC.