On last 21st May the members of the BCN SGA-SEG Student Chapter had the opportunity to listen to Dr. Francisco Javier González in the second part of our first session of Debates on Mining of the Future: Seabed Mining.

Dr. González is an active researcher at the Marine Geology Division of the Spanish Geological Survey (IGME), where he focuses on the study of petrology, mineralogy, geochemistry and metallogenesis of deep sea environments (Fe-Mn nodules and crusts and polymetallic sulfides). Dr. González is also the coordinator of MINDeSEA, the flagship project of GeoERA on seabed mineral deposits in the European Seas, and a collaborator at the Department of Crystallography and Mineralogy of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM).

In the presentation Dr. Gonzalez talked us through the current state of exploration of seabed resources and projects that focus on this field in Spain, Europe and worldwide. He also commented on the geopolitical aspect of the matter and explained the work of international organizations like the ISA in regulating exploration (and foreseeable future exploitation) of the ocean floor.

After this first introduction, we learned about the different types of ore deposits that form deep underwater in the Earth’s oceans, as well as the chances and challenges that their sustainable exploitation will present. Dr. González says that such resources may hold the key to future supply of critical raw materials, but that caution must be taken in regard to the fragile environments where they are found and possible impacts on marine life or climate change. Hence that much more research is needed before we are able to start using them, should it be necessary.


Finally and to the interest of all us our guest discussed recent discoveries of IGME in the canarian coasts and described how it is like to live and work for months in a ship during oceanographic campaigns.

From the BCN SGA-SEG Student Chapter we would like to thank Dr. González for his brilliant presentation and wish him the best.