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Scandinavian Ocean Mineral´s logo

Our vision is to create a new and unique industry for Sweden: a green, offshore industry that can provide Sweden and the EU with innovation-critical minerals and value in the form of green energy, where climate benefits, commercial interests and jobs can be reconciled.

What is Scandinavian Ocean Minerals' vision?

What kind of mineral deposit do you want to extract from the sea floor in the Bothnian Bay?

We want to extract manganese nodules (polymetallic nodules), small, potato-like, rock concretions formed by precipitation in the boundary layer between bottom sediment and seawater. They contain minerals such as manganese, iron, aluminium, magnesium, silicon, titanium, phosphorus, cobalt and others. In total, we estimate that the Bothnian Bay contains about 20 million tonnes of manganese nodules.

What possibilities are created by extracting these minerals from the sea floor?

These minerals and metals already have many applications and are used in products for clean technologies, such as wind turbines, solar cells and high-density batteries. We see it as our mission to increase Sweden's degree of self-sufficiency in innovation-critical minerals. The EU is currently a major importer of minerals. The EU's goal is therefore to secure its own supply of the raw materials of the future, especially considering the current geopolitical situation. The nodules found in the Bothnian Bay contain the minerals required for the manufacture of, for example, semiconductors, batteries and solar cells. The nodules offer a great opportunity to reduce the need for imports to the EU from authoritarian states and to reduce the number of conventional mines on land.


How does your project differ from deep sea mining?

The most common criticism stems from being mistakenly associated with the extraction of minerals through deep sea mining. Deep sea mining has received attention in the media recently and can have a negative environmental impact. The reason why deep sea mining has attracted attention recently is because the demand for metals is rising and easily accessible deposits on land are running low. This increases the interest in extracting metals from the world´s ocean floors. Many scientists worry about how extraction from the ocean floor will affect marine life at these depths.

What criticism do you encounter?

1. Our operations involve work at depths of 60 to 120 meters. The definition of deep sea mining is extraction from depths of 200 meters or more (The Ocean Foundation, 2023). 2. Harvesting of nodules in the Bothnian Bay can be carried out because the marine environment has already been studied and conditions are known. It is thus possible to foresee any effects, unlike deep sea mining where conditions and effects are still relatively unknown. 3. Our operations ensure little impact on marine life and a rapid recolonisation of the sea floor. 4. Deep sea mining uses different types of crawler machines that can weigh 80-100 tons which significantly compact the ocean floor where they work. In deep sea mining, the deposits consist partly of a hard, homogeneous layer, so-called crust, which covers the sea floor. The crust is crushed using rotating machinery similar to what is used in strip-mining on land, before the crushed material is brought to the surface. 5. Our suction nozzle slides on skids which results in low pressure and therefore little impact on the sea floor. 6. Transporting the nodules from our operating area in the Bothnian Bay to nearby harbours takes four to five hours with four smaller cargo ships. In deep sea mining, it takes up to 30 days to move the extracted material from the operating area to a harbour, necessitating the use of twenty larger cargo ships travelling back and forth.

Why is the Bothnian Bay suitable for harvesting minerals?

The Bothnian Bay project is probably unique in the world. The reason is that the Bothnian Bay is one of the few areas in the world where manganese nodules can be harvested with little environmental impact. In addition, it is technically possible because the depth of the planned operating areas in the Bothnian Bay is no more than 60 to 120 meters. The manganese nodules are in principle 100 percent recoverable and contain many of the minerals and metals required for the transition to a fossil-free society. It is also worth mentioning that our activities are planned to take place outside the Swedish territorial boundary. Thus, it is not categorised as "coastal mining," which refers to activity inside the territorial boundary, i.e. within the 12 nautical mile limit.

What are the positive effects of harvesting manganese nodules on the marine environment in the Bothnian Bay?

• Visual observations when examining the bottom conditions in the nodule areas suggest that where there are high concentrations of nodules, marine life is limited, while in areas with low concentrations there is a richer marine life. Harvesting nodules can thus mean improved living conditions for marine life in the Bothnian Bay. • According to studies (Vallius et al., 2011), the nodules may dissolve due to acidification. This means that if the Baltic Sea or the Bothnian Bay acidify, there is a risk that the nodules will dissolve over time. If, for example, 10 million tonnes of nodules dissolve in the water, the consequence could be the release of 240,000 tonnes of phosphorus. This should be compared with the approximately 30,000 tonnes of phosphorus that currently flow into the Baltic Sea every year. Harvesting of nodules may thus prove necessary in the long term.

Is there a risk that your project will disturb fishing in the Bothnian Bay? 

What are the positive effects of harvesting manganese nodules in the Bothnian Bay on society?

• The project contributes to a fossil-free society. • The project provides access to the minerals necessary for the electrification of society. • The project creates a new Swedish offshore industry. • The project generates jobs. • The project reduces Sweden’s and the EU’s reliance on import of minerals from authoritarian states.

What is the difference between your Baltic Sea project and your Bothnian Bay project?

A major difference is the geographical location. The manganese nodules are found on the bottom of the Bothnian Bay and the oxygen-free sediment is found on the bottom of the Baltic Sea. The greatest benefit of the manganese nodules is geopolitical, but the climate will also benefit when minerals are extracted from within the EU's borders. As well, the impact on the environment compared to extracting similar minerals on land is reduced. In the Baltic Sea, the main benefit is that the oxygen-free sediments are removed from the bottom together with phosphorus, among other things, and that the returned bottom water is oxygenated. A secondary environmental benefit occurs when we convert parts of the sediment into fossil-free hydrocarbons (biogas, hydrogen, biocarbon and green carbon) which, for example, the steel industry needs for production of 100 percent fossil-free steel. Residual products such as silicon and silt are needed, among other things, for the electronics industry and the cement industry.

What are the positive environmental effects of sediment removal in the Baltic Sea?

• Removal of oxygen-free sediment contributes to limiting eutrophication in the Baltic Sea. • The environment of the Baltic Sea is improved by reducing the surface area of the oxygen-free, polluted sediment. • The returned bottom water is oxygenated through its exposure to air and will in turn oxygenate the sea floor. • Living conditions for fish and other marine life are improved, thus enhancing their chances for recovery. • The project contributes to a circular green economy and does not add any new burden to the environment. • The project contributes on a large scale to reduced methane and carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere.

What has happened so far and what is the next step?

Scandinavian Ocean Minerals (SOM AB) was established in 2020 and the permit application for seabed exploration was sent to the Ministry of Climate and Enterprise in 2022. Since then, we have, among other things, established contact with several partners, gathered knowledge and carried out practical tests. A Letter of Intent (LOI) has been signed with LKAB on the development of process technology, infrastructure and reception of minerals, and we have started collaborating with Vattenfall and SSAB on the Baltic Sea project. We have also acquired the survey vessel R/V Botnia Surveyor. We are now waiting for the exploration permit from the Ministry of Climate and Enterprise to be approved for two marine areas in the Bothnian Bay. The permit give us the opportunity to take the next step in our vision of creating the conditions for a fossil-free society.

What are the challenges?

It is fundamental to our projects that both investors and companies understand that our technology is fundamentally different from the techniques used in deep sea mining – and that we are committed from the outset to the positive environmental impact exceeding any possible negative impact. There is also a challenge in getting investors and companies to realise that Scandinavian Ocean Minerals' project in the Bothnian Bay generates metals that are necessary for the green transition. Our project in the Baltic Sea may meet a large part of Sweden's future needs for biogas, hydrogen and bio-carbon. The removal of oxygen-free sediments and the return of oxygenated bottom water benefits marine life conditions in The Baltic Sea.

How do you ensure minimal environmental impact?

In the application for extraction, Scandinavian Ocean Minerals will propose requirements for scientific pre- and post-control. Through the control-program the project is closely reviewed by Swedish authorities and measures can be taken if the environmental footprint is negative. The environmental aspects are central to our project. The environmental impact will be further investigated when the exploration permit is approved. The ability to carry out the projects with little environmental impact must be confirmed by an independent research group. The exploration permit does not entitle us to take up nodules in any form of "test mining", an incorrect claim that has arisen. We will collect about 75 samples per area with a scientifically recognised test bucket with dimensions of 30 x 30 x 40 cm. To apply for an extraction permit, our sampling must provide enough answers to obtain an environmental impact statement. If it turns out that the environmental requirements cannot be met, the operation will be discontinued.

In what way are your projects unique and different from those of competitors?

Is the project realistic?

Yes, absolutely. We strongly believe that negative environmental impacts can be ruled out, and that we can instead demonstrate that the method will have a positive effect on the marine environment. With the capital required we see no obstacles to succeed with the projects and achieving the vision of healthy oceans in close harmony with green economy.

When is production realistic?

We need politicians, concerned authorities and investors to understand the projects’ possibilities – that climate benefits, commercial interests and job creation can be reconciled. Furthermore, we need stakeholders to realise that Sweden can increase EU´s self-sufficiency in innovation-critical minerals as per the European Critical Raw Materials Act. On a practical level, we are waiting for the Swedish Ministry of Climate and Enterprise to grant an exploration permit (the preparatory authority, SGU has already recommended that the Swedish Ministry of Climate and Enterprise approve the permit). The permit is needed because the area of operation is within the Swedish economic zone but outside the Swedish territorial boundary.

What do you need to make the project feasible?

We plan to start small scale harvesting of manganese nodules in the Bothnian Bay in 2024. We expect full-scale production from 2028. In the Baltic Sea, we have a similar timeline provided we receive industry support and capital.

According to general information available from the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management, no fishing is taking place in our intended areas of activity due to limited fish stocks. Fish such as vendace live close to the coast and in much shallower waters.

There are currently no competitors for harvesting nodules in the Bothnian Bay.


On theBothnia Bayseafloor lies small potato-sized lumps – nodules – that contain minerals. In theBaltic Sealies sediments.


Via an air-lift technique, developed by Scandinavian Ocean Minerals, the seafloor is gently harvested for nodules or bottom sediment.


On board the ship, nodules are filtered or, if sediment centrifuged


Water and material that is not used is returned directly to the seafloor, which becomes oxygenated in the process.


Nodules and sediment are transported to land where nodules are refined into, among other things, manganese, iron, silicon (used for batteries, solar cells and semiconductors) while sediment becomes biogas, hydrogen gas or green coal (used for fossil-free steel) .

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