Wednesday 31 July 2013

LONDON | Citizens concerned about the risks of deep sea mining will be leafleting participants of the Deep Sea Mining Industry Summit. The leaflets state that deep sea mining will be made redundant due its negative environmental and social costs in contrast to an emerging and lucrative alternative – the “urban mining” of metals from electronic waste.

Richard Solly of the London Mining Network said, “We are highlighting to summit participants the risks of investing in this ‘frontier’ industry – not only is there strong opposition from civil society where ever its been proposed but its viability is highly questionable once the economic, environmental and social costs are weighed up.”

A precautionary approach on environmental as well as economic grounds would demand a moratorium on this industry until the risks are assessed and analysed. We are still waiting to see a comprehensive risk analysis of deep sea mining”

As a new form of mining there are many uncertainties about deep sea mining due to the lack of practical experience of the technologies and to the lack of knowledge about the unique properties of the ecosystems at the sites being mined. Serious concerns have also been raised about the potential for heavy metals entering marine food chains with serious consequences for the health of coastal communities.

Companies and governments from around the world have been rushing to explore and exploit minerals found in and on the seabed, such as gold, copper, manganese, cobalt and rare earths. Over 1.5 million square km of the Pacific Ocean is currently under exploration licence to to private and national companies within both territorial and international waters. There are currently 17 exploration contracts for the seabed that lies beyond national jurisdiction in the deep seas of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans. There is also significant exploration interest within national waters, particularly in the Pacific Ocean

$21 billion of silver and gold locked away in e-products each year and electronic waste contains precious metal “deposits” 40 to 50 times richer than ores mine Australian scientists have found that 1 tonne of old mobile phones contain about 100 kilograms of copper, three kilos of silver and 200 grams of gold.”

According to Natalie Lowrey of the Deep Sea Mining campaign, “As Australian researchers demonstrate “urban mining” of e-waste will become a reality over the next decade – a similar time frame to the operationalisation of deep sea mining. Urban mining will be more lucrative than deep sea mining and will deal with an otherwise intractable waste problem in a much more responsible manner.

The expense and risks of deep sea mining cannot be justified while there is a profitable, socially and environmentally beneficial alternative to satisfy society’s needs for the same metals.”

For more info:

Richard Solly, London Mining Network (outside London DSM Summit), 07903 851695,

Natalie Lowrey, Deep Sea mining campaign (Australia), +61 421 226 200,


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