The Metals Company and SGS Group Commence Test Work & Pilot Demonstrations to Extract Critical Battery Metals from Seafloor Rocks

  • The pilot hydrometallurgical refining campaign builds upon TMC’s recent successful pyrometallurgical processing campaign, where seafloor polymetallic nodules were used to produce an intermediate product (matte) rich in copper, nickel and cobalt
  • TMC’s pilot refining campaign is expected to refine the matte into copper cathode and battery-grade nickel and cobalt sulfate crystals, completing the pilot-scale validation of its near-zero solid waste metallurgical flowsheet
  • The bench and pilot-scale work with SGS Group (“SGS”) brings TMC one step closer to realizing its ambition of a full-scale metallurgical plant to re-shore production of critical battery metals in the U.S.

NEW YORK, Oct. 06, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Metals Company (Nasdaq: TMC) (the “Company” or “TMC”), a developer of lower-impact battery metals from seafloor polymetallic nodules, has commenced work with SGS, a world leader in testing, inspection and certification, to provide bench and pilot-scale testing in the Company’s program to refine battery metals from a matte that was recently successfully generated from nodules. The collaboration will help to determine, analyze and chart TMC’s path towards a full-scale metallurgical plant to produce battery metals like nickel and cobalt, deemed ‘most critical’ to U.S. interests by the Biden Administration. This important work program with SGS comes on the heels of TMC’s public listing to the Nasdaq in September.

SGS is providing TMC with the necessary equipment, resources and expertise to extract the battery-grade nickel sulfate, cobalt sulfate, and copper cathode, metals required to build EV batteries and wiring. The nodules used in TMC’s pilot processing work were collected in Q1 2020 from the Company’s NORI-D contract area in the Clarion Clipperton Zone of the Pacific Ocean about 1,300 nautical miles from San Diego. When in full production, the NORI-D project, which represents just 22% of the Company’s estimated defined resource, is expected to process and refine 9.5 Mtpa of dry nodules (run rate) into critical battery metals and other products, including:

  • 119 ktpa of nickel contained in nickel sulfate
  • 9 ktpa of cobalt contained in cobalt sulfate
  • 89 ktpa of copper cathode
  • 2.9 Mtpa of manganese contained in 40% manganese silicate
  • 254 ktpa of ammonium sulfate (fertilizer).

“Solving the climate problem requires solving the battery problem and solving the battery problem requires solving the metal problem. Today most of the critical battery metals are produced outside of the U.S., often on other continents — leaving the U.S. with a strong mineral dependence and a 50,000-mile-long battery material supply chain,” said Gerard Barron, Chairman and CEO of The Metals Company. “Nodules contain high grades of four critical metals in a single rock and are found at the doorstep of the U.S. western seaboard in sufficient quantities to solve America’s metal problem. Once collected, they can be shipped directly to the U.S. and processed and refined here with near-zero solid waste. The data we hope to collect from our engagement with SGS will get us one step closer to validating our process and one day solving the metal problem from our U.S. plant.”

“SGS has been engaged in the development of metallurgy processes for over 80 years,” said Stephen Mackie SGS, Natural Resources – Director of Metallurgy and Mineralogy. “We’re excited to be working with TMC to develop the metallurgical processes for the recovery of high purity metal salts from sea nodules that are critical to the EV battery industry. We are committed to providing our technical expertise to such projects that contribute to the green economy.”

About The Metals Company

The Metals Company is an explorer of lower-impact battery metals from seafloor polymetallic nodules, on a dual mission: (1) supply metals for the clean energy transition with the least possible negative environmental and social impact and (2) accelerate the transition to a circular metal economy. The company through its subsidiaries holds exploration and commercial rights to three polymetallic nodule contract areas in the Clarion Clipperton Zone of the Pacific Ocean regulated by the International Seabed Authority and sponsored by the governments of Nauru, Kiribati and the Kingdom of Tonga.
More information is available at

About SGS

SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 89,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 2,600 offices and laboratories around the world. SGS is constantly looking beyond customers’ and society’s expectations in order to deliver market leading services wherever they are needed and working together to make the world a better, safer place.


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Forward Looking Statements

Certain statements made in this press release are not historical facts but are forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions under The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements generally are accompanied by words such as “believe,” “may,” “will,” “estimate,” “continue,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “expect,” “should,” “would,” “plan,” “predict,” “potential,” “seem,” “seek,” “future,” “outlook” and similar expressions that predict or indicate future events or trends or that are not statements of historical matters. The forward-looking statements contained in this press release include, without limitation, TMC’s expectations with respect to its collaboration with SGS, the success of the processing methods developed by SGS and our expected ability and rate of processing dry nodules. These forward-looking statements involve significant risks and uncertainties that could cause the actual results to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements. Most of these factors are outside TMC’s control and are difficult to predict. Factors that may cause such differences include, but are not limited to: regulatory uncertainties and the impact of government regulation and political instability on TMC’s resource activities; changes to any of the laws, rules, regulations or policies to which TMC is subject; the impact of extensive and costly environmental requirements on TMC’s operations; environmental liabilities; the impact of polymetallic nodule collection on biodiversity in the CCZ and recovery rates of impacted ecosystems; TMC’s ability to develop minerals in sufficient grade or quantities to justify commercial operations; the lack of development of seafloor polymetallic nodule deposit; uncertainty in the estimates for mineral resource calculations from certain contract areas and for the grade and quality of polymetallic nodule deposits; risks associated with natural hazards; uncertainty with respect to the specialized treatment and processing of polymetallic nodules that TMC may recover; risks associated with collective, development and processing operations; fluctuations in transportation costs; testing and manufacturing of equipment; risks associated with TMC’s limited operating history; the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; risks associated with TMC’s intellectual property; and other risks and uncertainties indicated from time to time in the final prospectus and definitive proxy statement, dated and filed with the SEC on August 12, 2021 relating to the recently completed business combination, including those under “Risk Factors” therein, and in TMC’s other future filings with the SEC. TMC cautions that the foregoing list of factors is not exclusive. TMC cautions readers not to place undue reliance upon any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date made. TMC does not undertake or accept any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements to reflect any change in its expectations or any change in events, conditions, or circumstances on which any such statement is based except as required by law.