Y Combinator’s Garry Tan Goes to the MatRead more

Manganese-rich nodules on the seafloor 2.5 miles below the surface of the northeast Pacific Ocean. Photo: Courtesy The Metals Co.

The Electric: An Undersea Drama Could Roil the EV Industry

By  |  March 19, 2023 2:00 PM PDT
Photo: Manganese-rich nodules on the seafloor 2.5 miles below the surface of the northeast Pacific Ocean. Photo: Courtesy The Metals Co.

More than 30 countries including France, Spain, Singapore and Brazil fiercely oppose deep-sea mining, warning of irreversible damage to one of the world’s few remaining pristine areas. But they may not be able to overcome the wishes of the tiny Pacific nation of Nauru. The island country is sponsoring a bid by The Metals Co., a Canadian mining concern, to extract nickel, manganese and cobalt from one of the most remote parts of the Pacific Ocean, a space between Hawaii and Mexico called the Clarion-Clipperton Zone.

The opposing forces are facing off in the Jamaican capital of Kingston, where an obscure U.N. agency, the International Seabed Authority, last week began deliberations that could upend the electric car, battery and mining industries, along with the economies of several nations. On a live webcast, the ISA is debating the rules governing who can mine in the open sea—including in the CCZ, which may hold the richest store of critical metals on the planet. The Metals Co. is one of two companies that have conducted undersea trials in the CCZ, and rivals from several countries are just behind them, including Chinese players seeking to get in on the ocean wealth.

Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
Former Apple design chief Jony Ive and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. Photos by Getty.
Designer Jony Ive and OpenAI’s Sam Altman Discuss AI Hardware Project
Jony Ive, the renowned designer of the iPhone, and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman have been discussing building a new AI hardware device, according to two people familiar with the conversations.
From left to right: Blair Effron, Robert Pruzan and David Handler. Photos by Getty; Tidal Partners.
Exclusive Finance
Disputes, Employee Misconduct Rattle Centerview’s Silicon Valley Dreams
The San Francisco Bay Area–based bankers at Centerview Partners, the investment bank that advised Silicon Valley Bank’s owner and Credit Suisse through recent turmoil, got two doses of bad news last week.
Art by Clark Miller
Exclusive startups entertainment
MasterClass Takes a Crash Course in Frugality
MasterClass had a problem with the shoot featuring its latest star instructor, Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger.
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Photos via Getty
Exclusive microsoft ai
How Microsoft is Trying to Lessen Its Addiction to OpenAI as AI Costs Soar
Microsoft’s push to put artificial intelligence into its software has hinged almost entirely on OpenAI , the startup Microsoft funded in exchange for the right to use its cutting-edge technology.
From left: Paul Graham, Garry Tan and Michael Seibel. Photos by Getty. Art by Mike Sullivan.
Exclusive startups ai
Y Combinator’s Garry Tan Goes to the Mat
Garry Tan was in his happy place. Surrounded by food trucks and techies basking in San Francisco’s September sun, the CEO of Y Combinator snapped selfies with entrepreneurs as he meandered through a crowd of 2,700 attendees at the startup accelerator’s annual alumni event.
Dave Rogenmoser, cofounder of Jasper. Photo via Getty.
Exclusive startups ai
Jasper, an Early Generative AI Winner, Cuts Internal Valuation as Growth Slows
Jasper AI, an early darling of the generative artificial intelligence boom, has cut the internal value of its common shares 20%, according to former employees who were notified by the company.