Soley Minerals, a subsidiary of the Australian mining company Thielorr Sarl, has applied for permission from the National Energy Authority to explore whether magnetite and other metals can be harnessed from the ocean floor off south Iceland and in Héradsflói bay in the east.
Lagarfljót flows into Héradsflói. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
According to Soley Minerals’s report to the National Energy Authority, the company is planning to spend five years on exploring whether there is enough magnetite in the ocean floor for harnessing it, Fréttabladid reports.
The estimated cost is ISK 0.8-2.2 billion (USD 6.8-18.6 million, EUR 5.0-13.8 million). The company intends to have international investors join the project and register it to the Icelandic Stock Exchange.
Soley Minerals plans to suck sand up from the ocean floor and extract magnetite with magnetic technology. The sand has to contain at least ten percent magnetite for the production to be viable. Once launched, it could deliver 25,000 tons of metal monthly.
The magnetite is intended for export as it is used in steal production. The rising economies of China and India were mentioned as possible markets.
Thielorr Sarl states that basalt in Iceland contains a high quantity of magnetite. The metal is carried to sea by the country’s rivers where it then breaks down into the size suitable for production. The smallest particles are three millimeters in diameter.