Currently, there are 31 deep sea mining exploration licences covering some 1.5 million square kilometres of the Pacific Ocean
Whilst there is currently no deep sea mining project in operation there is an intense and growing interest in minerals exploration both in national and international waters.
The deep sea — usually defined as the realm below 200 metres — is a world of extremes. Temperatures near the seabed in many places hover near 0 °C where there is next to no light and pressures can exceed 1,000 bars – equivalent to having a couple of elephants standing on your big toe.
Despite this life in the deep seas thrives. The deep sea contains a vast array of ecosystems that researchers have barely begun to study.
Deep sea mining (DSM) is an experimental industry that carries a high level of technical, environmental, financial and reputational risk.
The global movement to stop deep sea mining before it starts is growing. Local communities across the Pacific Ocean that have been resisting deep sea mining for over 13 years have been joined by civil society, academia, governments, intergovernmental organisations and businesses who are increasingly aware of the risks of deep sea mining.
what is deep sea mining and where is it happening?
There is a growing interest in the vast quantities of metal-rich mineral deposits found in areas of the sea below 200 meters for metals such as copper, nickel, aluminium, manganese, zinc, lithium and cobalt, coupled with rising demand for these metals to produce high-tech applications such as smartphones and green technologies such as wind turbines, solar panels and electric storage batteries.
Currently there is no operating deep sea mine in the world, however there is an intense and growing interest in minerals exploration both in national and international waters with over 1.5 kilometres of the Pacific Ocean under exploration leasehold.
what are the impacts of deep sea mining?
Our oceans are already under threat and what we do now about DSM is that the impacts of mining deep sea nodules in the Pacific Ocean would be extensive, severe and last for generations, causing essentially irreversible species loss and ecosystem degradation.
is deep sea mining financially viable? Is it worth the risk?
Mining the deep sea for minerals poses a significant risk to ocean ecosystems. DSM also threatens the deep cultural and spiritual connections of islanders and maritime communities who have navigated, fished and traded across oceanscapes for thousands of years.
Solidarity and the growing movement saying #nodeepseamining
There is a growing solidarity across the world to stop deep sea mining. Globally civil society, academia, governments, intergovernmental organisations and business are increasingly aware of the risks of DSM, with more stakeholders calling for a ban or moratorium on DSM.