“We can go out and do it if you sons of bitches will get out of the way,” said Dillard S. Hammett, vice president of the offshore-drilling company Sedco Inc., in an edition of New Scientist, published on December 9, 1982.

Hammett was referring to delays in plans to mine metal-rich rocks from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. At the time, Sedco and other companies were hoping to launch a deep-sea mining industry, but by that point they had been held back by more than a decade of negotiations at the United Nations over the question of who owns the seabed.