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Metalliferous sediments over the Nazca plate constitute an enormous potential resource because of their widespread surficial distribution. The total value of contained metals is nearly $67.50 per metric ton based on current prices for iron, manganese, cobalt, copper, molybdenum, nickel, zinc, and silver. However, economic comparisons are unfavorable with alternative or existing sources of metals such as the manganese nodules and ores of the Cuajone and Cerro de Pasco mines. The principal obstacles are the relatively low concentrations for all metals and the high proportion of total value in the metallurgically complex association of iron and manganese. Other largely negative uncertainties notwithstanding, we conclude that these metalliferous sediments will remain an untapped resource into the foreseeable future.

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