Home' Greymouth Star : March 3rd 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Friday, March 3, 2017
United States Attorney-General Jeff
Sessions said today he would recuse
himself from any investigations into
alleged Russian meddling in the 2016
US presidential election because he was
involved with President Donald Trump’s
But Sessions, who was a long-time
senator before becoming the country’s
top law enforcement official, said he did
nothing wrong when he did not disclose
during Senate testimony that he had met
last year with Russia’s ambassador.
“ I have recused myself in the matters
that deal with the Trump campaign,”
Sessions told reporters in the latest twist
of the controversy over ties between
Trump associates and Russia that has
dogged the early days of his presidency.
US intelligence agencies concluded
last year that Russia hacked and leaked
Democratic e-mails during the election
campaign as part of an effort to tilt the
vote in Trump’s favour. The Kremlin has
denied the allegations.
Sessions made the comments at a hastily
arranged news conference after several
of his fellow Republicans in Congress
called for him to recuse himself from
investigations and Democrats urged him
to resign. — Reuters
While many firms are looking to
the moon for mining opportunities,
one Australian firm believes there
could be precious metals a lot
nearer to home.
Deep-sea robots will be sent
to mine mineral deposits in the
deep ocean in 2019 in a test for a
controversial new scheme.
As land-based mineral stores
are becoming depleted, the ocean
floor is becoming a more attractive
mining prospect, containing gold,
copper and other precious metal
deposits used to make electronics,
renewable energy tools and even
medical imaging machines.
But deep-sea excavation may have
a negative impact on deep ocean
marine life, as robot mining may
destroy their homes and disturb
these sensitive species.
The Canadian mining company
Nautilus Minerals plans to send
robots to mine deposits rich in
copper and gold in the waters of
Papua New Guinea.
But it seems that other countries
will be catching up soon — the
International Seabed Authority,
which regulates deep-sea mining
across the world, has granted 25
countries contracts to search for
“There’s a goldrush mentality
that has emerged,” Professor
Mark Hannington, a geologist at
Geomar-Helmholtz Centre for
Ocean Research in Germany, said.
He and other researchers poke
about mining the seafloor at
the American Academy for the
Advancement of Sciences 2017
annual meeting in Boston.
Since nobody has mined the deep
seafloor as yet, no one knows what
effect it will have and how it could
disturb deep-sea species.
While deep-sea mining has not
begun as yet, shallow water mining
for diamonds has been taking place
for a long time.
According to the Woods Hole
Oceanographic Institute, the
diamond jeweller de Beers obtains
a significant portion of its diamond
production from the continental
shelf of southern Africa.
But now, we may not be able
to satisfy the demand for rare
materials unless we mine the
Currently, land-based miners are
having to mine deeper and deeper
into the earth for lower grade
mineral deposits, Dr James Hein,
a geologist with the United States
Geological Sur vey said in a report
by NBC News.
“The really rich, high-grade
deposits on land have already been
mined,” he said.
He said that it ’s not likely that
deep-sea mined will replace land-
based mines, but there are large
amounts of mineral on the seafloor.
“There’s tremendous amounts of
metal,” Hein said.
“The question is how much
of it ’s going to be economically
Hein says that this mining will be
needed to improve the standard of
living in developing countries such
as China and India.
The deposits are also needed for the
renewable energy, as infrastructure
such as wind turbines and solar cells
require rare metals which are found
in deep ocean minerals.
The minerals on the ocean floor
have been building up on rocks
and sediments for millions of years,
and there are three main types that
potential deep-sea miners have
their eyes set on.
The first kind is the polymetallic
nodule which can be found up to
They form when metal collect
on debris on the seafloor sediment
such as fossils and even shark teeth.
These nodules, which can be the
size of golf balls or footballs and
contain minerals such as nickel,
cobalt, copper and lithium, which is
used in rechargeable batteries.
Although these nodules will be
fairly easy for robots to sweep up,
companies are working out how to
lift these nodules to the surface.
Long pipes with minerals may be
used to bring the minerals up into
The second mineral type is
ferromanganese crusts which are
found out more shallow depths of
400m to 5000m.
They contain elements such as
cobalt, and rare elements such as
tellerium, used to make solar cells
for renewable solar energy.
But these are crusts are difficult
to mine because they have to be
separate from the rocks they are
growing on which risks diluting
the minerals and making them less
The third kind of mineral deposits
are seafloor massive sulphides
which form around hydrothermal
vents on the seafloor which release
super-hot liquid from the earth’s
crust and deposits minerals in the
water surrounding them.
These seafloor massive sulphides
contain metals such as copper, gold,
zinc and silver.
The Nautilus robots will work
by crawling on the seafloor and
picking up the deposits to be
transported back to the surface.
While the minerals of the seabed
are useful for manufacturing
various technologies, deep-sea
excavation may have a negative
impact on deep-sea creatures.
They are used to the extreme
conditions at the bottom of the
ocean and are very sensitive to
For example, the recently-
discovered Casper octopod lays its
eggs on the dead stalks of sponges
attached to seafloor nodules.
But deep-sea mining robots could
alter their habitat and the habitat of
other deep-sea species by removing
these sediments, which also contain
a lot of food
The mining could also lift plumes
of sediment that could bury the
animals, and some of these plumes
may contain toxic chemicals such
Setting aside protected areas
could allow miners to carry out
deep-sea excavations in patterns,
leaving space for sea-life to relocate
in areas that are not being mined.
For example, hydrothermal vents
which are colonised by tubeworms
could be avoided in favour of those
that do not have these animal
Nautilus Minerals is even
considering moving animals to
safer places and providing them
with crates as alternative homes.
Researchers are carrying out
experiments that mimic deep-
sea mining to see how it affects
Dr Daniel Jones, a marine
biologist at the National
Oceanography Centre in
Southampton, United Kingdom,
and his colleagues have found that
areas with a simulated mining
effect have fewer animals and
species than untouched areas, even
decades later. — DPA
Massive robots set to mine the seabed
PICTURE : Nautilus Minerals
Nautilus Minerals seafloor production equipment at Soil Machine Dynamics.
Snap, the parent company of Snapchat,
has floated on the New York Stock
Exchange in one of the biggest tech
listing in years.
The company has raised $US3.4 billion
($4.81 billion) at $17 a share after
pricing its initial public offering (IPO)
last night. This makes it the biggest tech
float since 2014, when Alibaba shattered
Its opening price was about $24 a share
— v aluing it at over $30b. It also made its
two founders, Evan Spiegel and Bobby
Murphy, worth more than $5b each.
Snap is a favourite of teenagers and
millennials, but its public filings show
that the company is making heavy losses.
In the run-up to the IPO, it has had to
convince potential investors that it is
not like Twitter, which also floated amid
massive optimism but has struggled
Snap began trading at $24 a share — a
jump of 40% from its pricing of $17 a
Spiegel and Murphy are both young,
26 and 28 respectively.
A photo shared on Twitter from
Spiegel signing the distinguished guests
book at the New York Stock Exchange
revealed Spiegel’s signature includes the
Snapchat ghost logo.
$250 million worth of shares in the IPO,
but will keep hold of 211 million. At
$24 a share, that puts both of their net
worths above $5b.
Snapchat, Snap’s main ser vice, has a
loyal user base of 158 million people who
use it to send 2.5 billion messages every
day, according to its initial public offering
filing. While it has yet to profit off that
popularity, it is growing its revenue,
which was $404.5m in 2016. The firm
has invested substantially in working
with media partners — including the
Washington Post — to deliver news
and analysis to its predominantly young
The company ’s growth has been largely
driven by younger users, who spend over
30 minutes on it per day, according to
the company’s filing.
Snapchat ’s growth, however, is being
driven more and more by older users,
according to the research firm eMarketer.
The firm projects that 6.4% of Snapchat ’s
users this year will be between 45 and
54, showing that it is expanding its
appeal among older users, even as fewer
younger users join the network.
But some analysts still caution that
Snap has to prove itself. James Gellert,
chief executive of the analysis firm Rapid
Ratings, expected Snap to crackle with a
post-IPO pop, thanks to tech-focused
investors hungry to get their hands on
something new. But, he said, Snap has
a way to go to prove itself as a stable
“Snap is relatively young and it ’s yet to
generate profits. The typical IPO tech
investor will say that ’s fine and it doesn’t
matter,” he said. But from a long-term
perspective, Gellert said, being able
to demonstrate the ability to generate
profit and make money on assets is key
for a company’s financial health.
Snap also runs some risk of getting the
wind taken out of its sails by competitors.
Facebook — which famously tried to buy
Snap (then Snapchat) for $3b in 2013
has introduced some Snapchat-like
features to its Instagram social network.
According to analysis from the analysis
firm 7 Park Data suggests that the
launch of Instagram Stories — a feature
very similar to Snapchat ’s Story product
hurt Snapchat ’s growth. Snapchat ’s
daily users fell off after Instagram
introduced its version Stories, indicating
that Snapchat ’s user base can be lured
away. — EFE
Shares jump 40% at float
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