Deep ocean mining for manganese nodules was the subject of extensive research and development in the 1970s. Recently, the discovery of very rich massive sulfide deposits in deep water has sparked renewed interest in this technology. This paper will report the results of a series of experiments conducted in the late 1970s to validate predictions for the performance of airlift pumping for an ocean mining application. The paper will discuss the sensitivity of airlift performance to proper flow regime maintenance and the comparison between experiments and theory. Implications on full scale system design and control will be discussed.

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