Latest News

15
Oct
2018

Source: Radio NZ

A campaigner against deep sea mining says recent earthquakes in Papua New Guinea’s Islands region mean a proposed mining project is a disaster waiting to happen.

On Thursday last week, a magnitude 7.0 quake struck off the south coast of New Britain island, the second major quake in the area this year.

Meanwhile, Canadian company Nautilus Minerals is pushing ahead with its Solwara 1 project, which will dredge the seafloor between the islands of New Ireland and New Britain.

Helen Rosenbaum from the Deep Sea Mining Campaign said the seismic activity only makes the project more of a threat to PNG.

Continue reading PNG earthquakes raise concerns over seabed mining project

12
Oct
2018

Source: Deep Sea Mining Campaign

The United States Geological Survey reported that a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck close to the proposed Solwara 1 deep sea mine near in Papua New Guinea yesterday at 7am local time. This follows a magnitude 6.6 quake nearby in March.

Dr. Helen Rosenbaum, of the Deep Sea Mining Campaign said: “Thankfully there have been no reports of damage or injury.  However, this is the second large earthquake this year right near the Solwara 1 deep sea mine proposed by Canadian company Nautilus.1 It’s also in the vicinity of several other exploration tenements in the Bismarck Sea between East New Britain and New Ireland Provinces that Nautilus aspires to turn into sea floor mines.”

Dr. Rosenbaum continued, “Can you imagine the damage and pollution that would occur if Solwara 1 and these other proposed deep sea mines become a reality?  Nautilus plans to have a 1.6 km long pipe moving ore slurry from the sea floor to the surface.  An Independent oceanographic assessment indicates that currents in Bismarck Sea would carry pollution from the Solwara 1 shorewards towards New Ireland province, the Duke of York Islands and possibly to the coast of East New Britain.2   

“Where are our emergency response plans?”‘ asks Jonathan Mesulam from the Alliance of Solwara Warriors3 and a local community leader whose village is located in New Ireland province, only 25km from the proposed Solwara 1 project.

“There is already great uncertainty about the environmental damage that will occur from the normal operation of Solwara 1. But such serious earthquakes will cause a catastrophe!  Nautilus’s equipment has never been tested under these extreme conditions. We have no capacity at either provincial or national level to deal with such an event.”

Jonathon Mesulam continued, ” Papua New Guinea sits right on the Pacific Ring of Fire.  What was our Government thinking by approving Solwara 1. And not only did they approve the project but they have also invested heavily to purchase a 15% stake in this experimental venture.  The company’s only credible shareholder Anglo American divested itself of this dodgy project in May and Nautilus’s share price has now hit an all-time low.4,5 Why is our National Government still backing this loser?”

For more information

PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Jonathan Mesulam, Alliance of Solwara Warriors
mesulamjonathan[at]gmail.com, +675 7003 8933

AUSTRALIA
Helen Rosenbaum, Deep Sea Mining Campaign,
hrose[at]vic.chariot.net.au, +61 413201793

NOTES

[1] The site for the proposed Solwara 1 mine is located the Bismarck Sea of Papua New Guinea, approximately 25 km from the coastline of New Ireland Province, about 35 km from Duke of York Islands and 60 km from Kokopo township in East New Britain.

[2] Physical Oceanographic Assessment of the Nautilus Environmental Impact Statement for the Solwara 1 Project – An Independent Review, November 2012. http://www.deepseaminingoutofourdepth.org/wp-content/uploads/EIS-Review-FINAL-low-res.pdf

[3] The Alliance of Solwara Warriors is a growing group of communities and supporters opposing sea bedmining from Madang, East New Britain, New Ireland, Manus and Milne Bay Province

[4] Anglo American to exit stake in deep sea mining company, Neil Hume, Financial Times, 4 May 2018 https://www.ft.com/content/ad58aee6-4fad-11e8-a7a9-37318e776bab; Anglo American to end investment in deep sea mining company Nautilus, Reuters, 4 May 2018; https://www.reuters.com/article/us-anglo-american-m-a/anglo-american-to-end-investment-in-deep-sea-mining-company-nautilus-idUSKBN1I523Z

[5] Nautilus website stock information, http://www.nautilusminerals.com/irm/content/stock-information.aspx?RID=269&RedirectCount=1

8
Oct
2018

Source: ABC News
Author: Carla Howarth

Scientists have uncovered a chain of volcanic seamounts towering up to three kilometres from the seafloor off Tasmania’s east coast which are proving a food magnet for marine life.

The underwater mountains, which are nearly 2 kilometres below the surface, were mapped by the CSIRO’s research vessel Investigator, 400 kilometres off the coast.

Dr Tara Martin, from the CSIRO mapping team, said some of the seamounts have sharp peaks while others have wide flat plateaus.

Continue reading Whales, seabirds drawn to chain of volcanic seamounts off Tasmanian coast

4
Oct
2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 1 October 2018

The deep sea is a hidden and neglected area of ocean conservation. ‘Out of sight, out of mind’, work to protect the area is poorly funded despite being subject to multiple pressures from climate change, pollution, destructive fishing and the new threat of deep seabed mining.

A new grant from Arcadia[1] – a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin – is, however, helping to change that.  The grant will enable the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC) to continue working to bring much needed attention and protection to the deep over the coming five years.

Continue reading Arcadia Supports ‘Out of Sight Out of Mind’ Deep Ocean

3
Oct
2018

Source: Nippon.com
Author: Chiba Sanae

The impact of human activity, namely our heavy reliance on single-use plastic products, has reached even the deepest depths of the ocean. Recently, I helped publish “Human Footprint in the Abyss,” the first-ever paper documenting the extent of plastic pollution in marine environments at depths greater than 6,000 meters. The project involved researchers from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology and the UN World Conservation Monitoring Centre, and was based in part on findings from JAMSTEC’s Deep-Sea Debris Database. Launched in 2017, the database compiles images and videos taken from 1982 through 2015, during 5,010 dives to depths of more than 100 meters, by deep-sea submersibles and remotely operated vehicles.

Continue reading Shopping Bags in the Abyss: Addressing the Deep-Sea Plastic Crisis

28
Sep
2018

Source: Bloomburg BNA
Author: Adam Ellington and Stephan Lee

Once thought too expensive and too difficult, commercial scale mining of the deep sea is poised to become a reality as early as 2019. But scientists warn reaching rare minerals on and under the sea floor could cause irreversible damage to an environment that is still poorly understood.

Continue reading Deep-Sea Mining for Rare-Earth Metals Looms, as Do Environmental Questions

28
Sep
2018

Source: Science Daily
Author: Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology

Large quantities of the greenhouse gas methane are stored in the seabed. Fortunately, only a small fraction of the methane reaches the atmosphere, where it acts as a climate-relevant gas, as it is largely degraded within the sediment. This degradation is carried out by a specialized community of microbes, which removes up to 90 percent of the escaping methane. Thus, these microbes are referred to as the “microbial methane filter.” If the greenhouse gas were to rise through the water and into the atmosphere, it could have a significant impact on our climate.

Continue reading Observing the development of a deep-sea greenhouse gas filter

22
Sep
2018

Source: Business Insider
Author: Jeremy Berke

The seafloor is one of the last unexplored regions of our watery planet.

On a recent expedition dubbed Deep Search 2018, a group of ocean researchers discovered 85 miles of deep-sea coral reef off the coast of the southeastern US.

“Good news is too rare these days, and this is a victory that we can all share. We have found a pristine coral reef in our own backyard,” Erik Cordes, the chief scientist on the expedition and a deep-sea ecologist at Temple University, wrote in a mission summary.

Continue reading Scientists discovered 85 miles of deep-sea coral reef hidden off the US East Coast — here’s what it looks like

21
Sep
2018

Source: Nature
Author: Amy Maxmen

“Gummy squirrels,” single-celled organisms the size of softballs and strange worms thrive in a Pacific Ocean zone some considered an underwater desert.

Deep in the eastern central Pacific Ocean, on a stretch of sea floor nearly as big as the continental United States, researchers are discovering species faster than they can name them. And they are exploring newfound fossil beds of whales that lived up to 16 million years ago.

The findings — many reported for the first time last week at the Deep-Sea Biology Symposium in Monterey, California — have come as a shock. Some scientists had thought these vast underwater plains, 4,000–5,500 metres below the ocean surface, were relatively lifeless. But that is changing just as nations and corporations prepare to mine this patch of the Pacific sea bed for cobalt, manganese and other elements for use in technologies such as smartphones and electric cars.

Continue reading Discovery of vibrant deep-sea life prompts new worries over seabed mining