09 July to 24 August 2022
Humanity’s growing need for raw materials and critical metals (basic, precious and rare metals) associated with the soar in new technologies and the urgency of the energy transition has led many countries to diversify their sources. After almost 40 years of studies, seafloor massive sulphide deposits are gaining importance as a potential resource and are attracting interest from some industries.
Yet seafloor massive sulphide mounts are still far from being a real resource. At the scale of a hydrothermal field, the spatial and temporal distribution of these deposits remains largely unknown, as is the volume of active deposits (to be safeguarded) compared with inactive sites.
This is the objective of the multi-scale (regional and local), multidisciplinary exploration cruise HERMINE2.
The results will be the first step in a long-term project that could lead to the definition of strategies for the preservation of vulnerable ecosystems.
HERMINE2 is the second public utility expedition to be carried out within the exploration contract for polymetallic sulphides signed between Ifremer and the International Seabed Authority
Regional exploration carried out during the first HERMINE cruise in 2017 led to identifying at least six new hydrothermal fields on the 600 km of ridge.
HERMINE2 presented here directly succeeds the first expedition and has been developed around the AUV / Nautile coupled with two main objectives:
- Locate, characterise and sample the six new fields discovered during HERMINE (2017) ;
- Pursue the identification of sulphide deposits in the TAG district and study the low-temperature zone located 5 km east of the TAG active mount.