I went to the SSI space conference a few months ago. One of the speakers at the conference was Dr Greg Baiden. He works with Penguin automated systems, and he is an expert and innovator in automated mining systems. He came across as an incredibly smart guy with lots of experience in automated mining operations.
In one of his talks he mentioned automated undersea mining. After the talk I asked about the current commercial state of this effort. He pointed out that the first real effort to do this on an industrial was Nautilus minerals. I asked him if he though they could be commercially successful doing mining at depth. He was VERY VERY bullish on their long term prospects. Among other things he pointed out that the minerals in the sea floor spreading zones were orders of magnitude more dense than land based mining.
Clearly they are still a ways from production, but to me this looks like it could be an innovation as big as the first offshore oil wells. I really don't know how one evaluates a miner, much less a miner that is so completely different than traditional miners, but IMHO it looks like the potential here is huge. Any thoughts or comments?