Science, Vol. 235, pp. 853-860, 1987 WHOI-R-87-004
A large catalog of materials has been proposed as potential seabed resources, and some seabed materials such as hydrocarbons and tin already contribute to the world’s economy. Scientific advances have increased our knowledge of other seabed prospects, but realization of their potential will be determined by their relative economic accessibility compared to rival resources on land. Examination of existing stocks of conventional resources, and of the economic process by which new resources are added, suggests that most potential sources of seabed materials will not be exploited in the near future. Strategic behavior in seabed materials development, however, implies that investment in exploration and R&D could proceed on a larger scale and at a more rapid pace than might be expected solely on the basis of apparent commercial potential.