Mining companies are going to great lengths to source the raw materials needed for electric vehicle batteries, even miles below the ocean's surface.
They are racing to tap into these seabed stockpiles, striking deals, developing mining processes and equipment and striving to be eco-friendly.
Meanwhile, environmental groups want to slow the rush until more is known about the impact on this largely untouched area of the Earth. Several automakers have joined a moratorium on sourcing metals from seabed mining.
Vast fields of rocks containing high concentrations of nickel, cobalt, copper and manganese needed for EV batteries cover what's known as the abyssal plains. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the area makes up 70 percent of the ocean floor and is located at depths of over 10,000 feet. It is the largest habitat on Earth.
The pebble- to potato-size rocks coating the seabed, called polymetallic nodules, contain vastly more nickel and cobalt than land reserves. Terrestrial mining of these materials is burdened by dependence on China, environmental impact and child labor use in Africa.