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Why the Rush? Seabed Mining in the Pacific


The Pacific Ocean is the scene of a new wild west. Companies and their investors, hungry for profits, are driving a speculative rush for seabed minerals. They are aided in this by donor government supported programs that promote the development of ‘responsible’ sea bed mining regulations.

Deep Sea Mining (DSM) is as yet an unproven industry hoping to extract minerals deposited on the sea floor at depths below 200m. The metals sought include iron, manganese, copper, zinc, lead, nickel, cadmium, silver, platinum, cobalt, rare earths and gold. There are three distinct types of ore deposits found in the deep sea: ferromanganese nodules; cobalt crusts; and seafloor massive sulphides. Very little is known about the potential impacts of DSM. These uncertainties are due to the experimental nature of the mining as well as the lack of knowledge about the ecosystems of the deep ocean and the ways in which these connect with marine food webs. The only certainty associated with DSM is that there would be direct and indirect impacts at every stage of the mining process.



 why-rush.pdf (1.91 MB)