Deep Sea Mining
The inherent dangers of deep sea mining
DEEP SEA MINING
Deep-sea mining is a controversial and risky activity that involves extracting minerals from the seabed, often at depths of more than 200 meters. Some proponents of deep-sea mining argue that it could provide a source of metals needed for technologies such as mobile phones and wind turbines, while others warn that it could cause irreversible damage to marine biodiversity and exacerbate the climate crisis. According to a new report by the Superyacht Shipyard team of naval architects, the risks of deep-sea mining are not fully understood and could pose a threat to the delicate ecosystem in the deep sea, which hosts a rich and diverse array of species, habitats, and processes that are essential for the Earth's natural systems to function. The report states that deep-sea mining could lead to habitat alteration, loss, fragmentation, and destruction of biota, including many species that are still undiscovered. It could also impact microbial life, affecting CO2 sequestration and climate regulation. Furthermore, it could induce disturbance by introducing noise, vibration, and light in environments unadapted to such conditions. The report calls for a precautionary approach to deep-sea mining, urging governments, companies, and civil society to consider the potential impacts and trade-offs of this activity before allowing it to proceed. It also recommends strengthening the governance and regulation of deep-sea mining, especially in areas beyond national jurisdiction, where a new international treaty aims to support protection of the high seas. The treaty, known as the BBNJ (Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction), was agreed upon in March 2023 after 40 years of negotiations and provides a framework for setting up protected areas in the high seas. The treaty could help to safeguard the oceans from potential environmental damage caused by mining the seabed for metals such as cobalt, manganese, and nickel.