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NEWS BRIEFS

Market controls seabed mining

SLOVAKIA could be ready to start extracting raw materials from the Pacific Ocean in 2012, the news wire TASR reported. Slovakia owns sea bottom mining rights between the Hawaiian Islands and Mexico.

The complex system of mining poly-metallic concretions from the Pacific seabed will, however, depend not only on technological readiness but also on raw material prices on global markets.

"If rich deposits of copper, cobalt and manganese appear on the earth's surface anytime soon, it will certainly put off any seabed mining. But if, for instance, there's a negative political development or riots in areas with many such deposits, the price of raw materials will rise. Then Slovakia's seabed mining project will become more attractive financially," Jozef Franzen told TASR August 12. Franzen is the Slovak Government proxy in the international Interoceanmetal organization.

Franzen will attend the organization's seabed congress in Kingston, Jamaica, next week. He estimates that Slovakia's seabed mining program could, realistically, start in 2020 or 2030.

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