The Metals Company Engages Benchmark Mineral Intelligence to Produce Life Cycle Assessment of NORI-D Polymetallic Nodule Project

  • The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) by Benchmark Mineral Intelligence will focus on assessing the potential life cycle environmental impacts of TMC’s planned metal production project from nodules collected from its NORI-D area expected to commence in 2024
  • The study will also provide an independent assessment of how the lifecycle environmental impacts of producing metals from the NORI-D Nodule Project compare to producing the same metals from a range of conventional production scenarios from land ores
  • An independent LCA study of TMC’s nodule project follows several years of investment by TMC in peer-reviewed industry-level LCA research to understand global environmental and social impacts of producing battery metals from two sources: land ores and seafloor nodules

NEW YORK, April 11, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — TMC the metals company Inc. (Nasdaq: TMC) (“TMC” or “The Metals Company”), an explorer of lower-impact battery metals from seafloor polymetallic nodules, today announced that it has chosen the leading lithium-ion battery supply chain research firm, Benchmark Mineral Intelligence (“Benchmark”), to conduct an independent life cycle assessment of the environmental impacts of the Company’s planned NORI-D Polymetallic Nodule Project and compare these impacts to producing the same metals from commonly used production pathways using conventional land ores.

The Benchmark LCA study will investigate the potential cradle-to-gate impacts of producing important battery materials including nickel sulfate, cobalt sulfate, copper cathode, manganese silicate and an intermediate NiCuCo matte product from seafloor polymetallic nodules in the NORI-D area. These raw materials are widely used as active cathode materials (CAM) for NMC and other nickel-rich cathode chemistries for lithium-ion batteries, enabling the rapid growth of electrified transport and energy storage. The study will draw upon the Initial Assessment of the NORI-D Property independently compiled by AMC in accordance with the SEC Regulation S-K (subpart 1300) in March 2021 and a range of processing plant location scenarios developed by TMC since then. The Benchmark team will also include an additional third-party verification of the NORI-D Project LCA to ensure its compliance with ISO14040 and 14044 guidelines and standards.

The LCA specialists at Benchmark will draw upon their extensive global baseline impact data of battery precursor materials derived from conventional ores to produce a comparison to the NORI-D Project LCA across multiple categories including global warming potential and disruption of carbon sinks (CO2 equivalent emissions), waste, water and land use, terrestrial acidification, freshwater and marine eutrophication. Benchmark anticipates completing its comprehensive LCA for TMC in mid-Summer 2022.

Where should metals for the clean energy transition come from?

“Since 2019 TMC has been digging into the data to build a planetary perspective on the impacts of sourcing the metals we will need to electrify one billion EVs,” said Erica Ocampo, Chief Sustainability Officer for The Metals Company. “Our investment in this research has led to the publication of several comparative LCA papers, including a comprehensive white paper covering ~20 impact indicators and two peer-reviewed papers on climate change impacts and waste impacts published in high-impact journals. Based on this work and at a time when the hunt for new mineral resources is expanding into the most biodiverse carbon sinks on the planet, we believe that the polymetallic nodule resource could offer a better way forward to meet the massive metal demand of the clean energy transition. But this is the first time we are commissioning an LCA specifically for our NORI-D Nodule Project, rather than a global EV demand scenario. With first production expected in 2024, we’re delighted to have Benchmark’s independent assessment of how our NORI-D Project stacks up against the known impacts of current land-based supply.”

Charlotte Selvey Miller, Head of ESG at Benchmark, commented: “Benchmark’s ESG division publishes independent assessments, including Global Baseline LCA data, on the lithium-ion battery supply chain and how companies are working towards and managing environmental, social and governance risks and concerns, which is providing detailed insights and ESG metrics not yet seen before in the industry. Through comparing company-specific LCAs, such as this one for The Metals Company, to the Benchmark Global Baseline LCAs, we create the ability to compare processes to an industry average. This allows companies to effectively analyze the ESG risks and opportunities associated with projects to environmentally streamline their processes and approach. Considering the up-scale in global demand, this type of work is an important step in minimizing the upstream impacts of feeding global electrification and the clean energy transition.”

Amid a historic decline in ore grades and in the face of rapidly rising demand, the search for new sources of metals for the clean energy transition risks exacerbating the planetary and social impacts of mining on land. Production of energy transition metals will need to increase six-fold by 2040 to meet the world’s ambitious climate targets, according to the International Energy Agency. The TMC’s portfolio of nodule projects contains an estimated in situ resource of battery metals equivalent to the requirements for 280 million electric vehicles – or the size of the entire U.S. light vehicle fleet.

In January, TMC announced the publication of a peer-reviewed study in the Yale Journal of Industrial Ecology which found that seafloor polymetallic nodules could significantly reduce — and in some scenarios eliminate — the onshore solid waste streams typically generated by metal production from land ores. An earlier peer-reviewed study – published in the Journal of Cleaner Production – found that sourcing critical battery metals from seafloor nodules could reduce the lifecycle climate impacts by up to 90%, compared to land ores.

About The Metals Company

TMC the metals company Inc. (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 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 www.metals.co.

About Benchmark Minerals Intelligence

Benchmark is the world’s leading provider of actionable intelligence for the lithium-ion battery and electric vehicle supply chain. Benchmark’s expertise, together with unique and rigorous data collection processes, add real knowledge to opaque industries that are central to the lithium-ion economy. Their services guide the biggest investment decisions, government policy and industry collaboration around the world. Benchmark’s expertise is reinforced by its ESG division that offers a set of subscription and consultancy services providing robust metrics and Life Cycle Assessments measuring the sustainability of the EV supply chain build out. Benchmark ESG provides bespoke independent assessments of the material risks organizations face and investor-driven analysis, driving ESG through the heart of the EV supply chain’s companies. Benchmark ESG assessments assist in reducing future compensation associated with poor ESG risk identification in an industry where sustainability is being widely critiqued.

From the mine to cathodes and anodes, through to the lithium-ion battery cell, Benchmark’s entire supply chain approach is unique and relied upon the world over. More information is available at http://www.benchmarkminerals.com                           

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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, statements that waste streams could be reduced by using deep-sea 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: the outcomes of research conducted by third parties including the Life Cycle Assessments; 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 collection, 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, including those in the “Risk Factors” sections, included in the final prospectus and definitive proxy statement, dated and filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) on August 12, 2021 relating to the business combination, in TMC’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2021, filed by TMC with the SEC on March 25, 2022, 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.

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