In the first stages of a deep-sea exploration operation, remotely operated vehicles, or ROVs, are deployed. These ROVs are able to extract samples from the seabed using specially designed drills and cutting equipment.
Once obtained, these samples are analyzed to see if they contain rare earth minerals, with the amount detected indicative of the wider area’s resource deposits. If rare earth metals are detected in the samples, a wider, more comprehensive survey of the location is undertaken, with further samples taken to establish the full area containing the resources.
Once the area has been established and it has been determined that the site is suitable for mining operations, the ocean floor will be developed and equipment and machinery deployed to begin mining. The techniques used for this type of mining are the continuous line bucket system and the hydraulic suction system.