Mining on the sea floor should not begin before a full assessment of likely environmental impacts can be made, a report commissioned by the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (Ocean Panel) said on Wednesday.
Source: Geographical Author: Sabine Christiansen and Sebastian Unger
You may have heard about minerals on the bottom of the ocean. The UK Government sponsors several exploration contracts for UK Seabed Resources (a subsidiary of the American aerospace and security company Lockheed-Martin) in the Pacific Ocean to look for them. These minerals come from the so-called ‘Area’, the deep seafloor beyond the limits of national jurisdiction and far out in the global ocean.
This session was hosted as part of the 2020 Virtual Ocean Dialogues by the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Pacific Network on Globalisation.
The ocean is a constant for people of the Pacific, with cultures centred around long-held relationships that remain embedded in everyday life. Knowledge, guardianship and traditional resource management systems enable the bounty of a healthy ocean to perpetually sustain physical, economic and spiritual well-being.
The impending industry of deep seabed mining has focused its attention on the Pacific region both on the high seas through the International Seabed Authority and within national jurisdictions, where proposals to date have been shown to be at odds not only with cultural beliefs and practices of Pacific societies, but also with contemporary marine legislation, economic and cultural activities such as fisheries and tourism, and the commitments of all countries to reverse the decline in biodiversity. The outcomes and stories of civil society engagement with prolonged seabed mining licensing processes lay bare the question of appropriateness of the activity in the 21st century.
In this Virtual Ocean Dialogue session, stories from frontline indigenous leaders offered a Pacific people’s perspective on the “sustainable relationship” with the life-giving entity, Moana nui. Experts also explored the interconnectedness of deep-sea environments and the rights of both human societies and nature in the context of exploiting the global commons.
Scientists are urging a temporary halt to deep-sea metal mining. They warn in a report that it could cause severe, damaging effects on Pacific Ocean areas.
The recently-released report examined more than 250 published studies on deep-sea mining. The research was examined by the Deep Sea Mining Campaign – a collection of not-for-profit organizations. Environmental group MiningWatch Canada also cooperated on the study.
The race for mining exploration of the seabed continues despite the moratorium requested by the Coalition for the Conservation of Deep Waters. Even countries that signed the Paris Agreement and active members of the UN are ready to explore those areas that man still does not know well.
Proposed mining of seabed could destroy unstudied ecosystems and disrupt vital carbon-storing functions, says naturalist
Sir David Attenborough has urged governments to ban deep sea mining, following a study warning of “potentially disastrous” risks to the ocean’s life-support systems if it goes ahead.
The study, by Fauna and Flora International (FFI), warns proposed plans to mine the seabed could cause significant loss of biodiversity, disruption of the ocean’s “biological pump”, and the loss of microbes important for storing carbon. The process, requiring machines operating thousands of metres under the sea, could also create plumes of sediment that smother areas far from the mining sites and kill wildlife.
The new scientific report from Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC) member Fauna & Flora International (FFI) sets out evidence that the risk posed by deep-sea mining to biodiversity and vital ocean services is too great to take.
As a result of the report, Sir David Attenborough has called for a moratorium on deep-sea mining.
The essential roles microbes play in deep-sea ecosystems are at risk from the potential environmental impacts of mining, a new paper in Limnology and Oceanography reports. The NSF-funded study reviews what is known about microbes in these environments and assesses how mining could impact their important roles.