A journey into the unknown is highly recommendable for self-awareness and personal development, not so much for exploiting the ocean via deep-sea mining.
Even though the deep-sea floor is „the most abundant habitat type on Earth. And we know almost nothing about it.“ Conservation International is pointing out the environmental threats of this new underwater hype.
As Deep-sea mining is becoming technically available claims have been made: „Since 2001, the ISA has granted 26 of these contracts covering more than 1 million square kilometres [386,000 square miles] of the seabed. Eighteen of them were granted in the last four years“ (Opportunity, calamity in the balance amid plans to mine the deep sea by Molly Bergen). Dr Jack Kittinger, director of Conservation International’s Hawai‘i program, wants the International Seabed Authority to „establish regional networks of no-mining marine protected areas (MPAs) in all the places where they are licensing mining contracts — and we are urging them to do this before mining starts.“
A very honourable goal (details in Science), though we have to admit that we are not expecting companies to share Dr Jack Kittinger’s understanding of MPAs as „a win-win for both the planet and the reputation of the countries and companies involved in mining.“
The first deep-sea mining Solwara 1, which aims to mine the Bismark seabed for high-grade copper and gold, in Papua New Guinea by Nautilus Minerals, a Canadian company, stays highly controversial. Papua New Guineans are far from happy about the project and are calling for it to ban experimental deep-sea mining while the company is downplaying the risks.
Go to Impacts of deep-sea mining in Papua for an update on the situation.