Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc., a pioneer in the field of deep-ocean shipwreck exploration, has acquired a minority interest in SMM Project LLC, a company funded by a group of investors to bring together the exclusive licenses and skills of world renowned deep-ocean geologist Dr. Timothy McConachy of Bluewater Metals, the deep-ocean survey and exploration expertise of Odyssey, and the offshore coring and mining expertise of Robert Goodden.
SMM Project LLC recently purchased a majority interest in Bluewater Metals Pty Ltd, an Australian company with licenses for mineral exploration of approximately 150,000 square kilometers of ocean floor in four different countries in the South Pacific. The group will focus on the exploration and monetization of gold and copper-rich Seafloor Massive Sulfide (SMS) deposits through a new business entity which will acquire the remaining interest in Bluewater, in accordance with a memorandum of understanding concluded between the parties.
It is anticipated that Odyssey will dedicate certain marine assets, including a ship and related marine exploration technology to the endeavor, and will own approximately 40% of the new entity. In addition, Odyssey is expected to provide proprietary expertise and personnel management to the entity under contract, and will supervise operations to explore for deep-ocean gold, copper and silver deposits in areas covered by exploration permits currently held by Bluewater Metals.
"This is a natural extension for Odyssey and leverages our core competencies in an exciting new deep-ocean field. Deep-ocean SMS exploration and mining is where offshore oil exploration was 50 years ago, and the challenges to date have mostly centered on lack of technical expertise to find and recover these extremely valuable deposits that have high concentrations of gold, copper, silver and other minerals. We have been monitoring this field for years and have finally decided that the time is now right - and we have found the right partners - to make our move," stated Greg Stemm, Odyssey Chief Executive Officer.
"The Bluewater Metals team has done an outstanding job building relationships with governments and securing exploration permits in some of the most promising areas in the world for deep-ocean mineral deposits. We look forward to working with their team to maximize the revenue potential from high-value mineral deposits on the ocean floor. The opportunities in this arena are a perfect complement to our pioneering shipwreck exploration work. Interestingly, looking for SMS deposits is a lot like looking for barely discernable shipwreck ballast piles, and I don't think there is a better team in the world for this kind of work than ours," continued Stemm.
"We're excited by the possibilities of this new deep ocean mining venture, but we remain committed to our core shipwreck exploration goals," said Mark Gordon, President of Odyssey. "Although we plan to dedicate certain marine assets and personnel to this exciting venture, we've become highly proficient at mobilizing our technical gear on ships of opportunity and therefore retain our full operational capability for our shipwreck projects. We're planning a full schedule of shipwreck exploration for 2010."
"We're looking forward to exploring our permitted areas with the Odyssey team," said Dr. Tim McConachy, Co-Founder of Bluewater. "We've been successful in securing exploration permits in areas that we believe are likely to feature valuable SMS deposits based on previous expeditions and years of detailed geological research. The next step is conducting the deep-ocean surveys necessary to confirm these deposits. Partnering with Odyssey, a company with proven deep-ocean expertise and capabilities is the best way to ensure our success and with Robert Goodden and his team's involvement we are confident of successfully proof coring anything we find."