Application of Soft Data in Nodule Resource Estimation
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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OriginalversjonNatural Resources Research. 2020, 1-23. 10.1007/s11053-020-09777-2
Minerals and metals are of uttermost importance in our society, and mineral resources on and beneath the deep ocean floor represent a huge potential. Deciding whether mining from the deep ocean floor is financially, environmentally and technologically feasible requires information. Due to great depths and harsh conditions, this information is expensive and time and resource consuming to obtain. It is therefore important to use every piece of data in an optimum way. In this study, data retrieved from images and expert knowledge were used to estimate minimum and maximum nodule abundances at image locations from an area in the Clarion-Clipperton-Zone of the equatorial North East Pacific. From the minimum and maximum values, box cores and the spatial correlation quantified through variogram, a conditional expectation and associated uncertainty were obtained through the Gibbs sampler. The conditional expectation and the uncertainty were used with the assumed certain abundance data from the box cores in a kriging exercise to obtain better informed estimates of the block by block abundance. The quality assessment of the estimations was done based on distance criterion and on kriging quality indicators like the slope of regression and the weight of the mean. From the original image locations, alternative image configurations were tested, and it was shown that such alternatives produce better estimates, without extra costs. Future improvements will focus on improving the estimation of the minimum and the maximum values at image locations.