Industrial mining in the deep ocean is on the horizon. Despite several countries including Germany, France, Chile, and Canada calling for a pause on the field’s development, the International Seabed Authority (ISA), the organization tasked with both regulating and permitting deep-sea mining efforts, is nearing the deadline to finalize rules for how companies will operate.

Companies, meanwhile, are busy testing the capabilities of their machines—equipment designed to collect polymetallic nodules, rocks rich in cobalt, nickel, copper, and manganese that litter some parts of the seafloor.

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