Natural resources
Advanced Research Foundation to develop deep-sea drilling equipment for the Arctic
© RIA Novosti. Igor Zarembo

Advanced Research Foundation to develop deep-sea drilling equipment for the Arctic

Russia's Advanced Research Foundation (ARF) will develop deep-sea drilling equipment for mining solid mineral resources on the Arctic shelf and in the world's oceans, as part of its Iceberg project, RIA Novosti reports.

"We will analyze the proposals of the federal agencies and companies that are developing equipment to mine hard to extract and deep-sea solid mineral resources in the world's oceans and continental shelf, and we'll submit them for consideration during the next meeting at the foundation, scheduled for October," said Viktor Litvinenko, head of the ARF physical-technical research projects group.

The ARF director, Andrei Grigoryev, said the international community is about to start developing the world's oceans that contain substantial mineral resources. These mineral resources compare with and even exceed the similar raw materials potential of landlocked areas. Apart from the hydrocarbon resources being prioritized by states and mining companies, this implies rare-earth minerals, Grigoryev noted.

"According to experts, the Arctic continental shelf contains up to 30% of all shelf-based hydrocarbon deposits in the world. However, Russia views the development of the Arctic not only as a vital priority but also as a serious technological challenge. Only those boasting revolutionary knowledge and technology will be able to mine the extremely rich resources of this global reserve stock that has been sealed by pack ice," Grigoryev said.

He also added that since 2013, the Advanced Research Foundation and the Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering Rubin, in cooperation with the Ministry of Defense, Gazprom, Rosneft, Rosatom and the United Shipbuilding Corporation, have been conducting a feasibility study to develop equipment for mining hydrocarbon deposits in the Russian Arctic, which is covered by ice all year.

Established in 2012, the Advanced Research Foundation is similar to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) of the United States that is responsible for developing new technology for the US armed forces. The ARF is now developing over 50 projects, and laboratories have been opened for this purpose at leading national universities, research agencies and institutions. In late 2015, the ARF established a national center for the development of robotic technology and basic components.