seafloor

27
Nov
2018

Source: EurekAlert!

Scientists at The University of Texas at Austin’s Marine Science Institute have discovered nearly two dozen new types of microbes, many of which use hydrocarbons such as methane and butane as energy sources to survive and grow–meaning the newly identified bacteria might be helping to limit the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and might one day be useful for cleaning up oil spills.

Continue reading Newly discovered deep-sea microbes gobble greenhouse gases and perhaps oil spills, too

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23
Nov
2018

Source: Sputnik News

The International Seabed Authority is drawing up new rules on the exploitation of the seabed by deep sea mining companies. Sputnik spoke to Ann Dom, Deputy Director of Seas At Risk, and two deep sea mining companies about the risks of trawling for metals on the ocean floor.

Global demand for cobalt, copper, nickel and manganese is booming as they are required in the production of electric batteries and clean energy technology and companies are now looking at the ocean as a possible source of these minerals.

Continue reading ‘Deep Sea Mining Could Rob us of Cure for Cancer’, Say Conservationists

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20
Nov
2018

Source: The National
Author: Kirsteen Paterson

Gas-absorbing deep sea bacteria are soaking up carbon dioxide – and mining could create major problems, Scots scientists say.

As many as 16 contractors from countries including the UK, Germany, France and Korea have secured exploration rights to the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone (CCFZ) in the Pacific Ocean.

Continue reading Scientists warn against deep-sea mining after key carbon cycle discovery

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19
Nov
2018

Source: Honolulu Civil Beat
Author: Stewart Yerton

Critics fear rules for opening a swath of ocean bed between Mexico and Hawaii won’t protect “the most pristine wilderness on the planet.”

Deep on the floor of the Pacific Ocean, amidst one of earth’s greatest unexploited reserves of valuable minerals, are ecosystems of otherworldly creatures.

There are fast-moving sea urchins; anemones that perch like flowers atop long sponge stalks; translucent, tentacled sea cucumbers that look like something from Pokemon, and yellow gelatinous critters that University of Hawaii oceanographers have nicknamed “Gummy Squirrels.”

Continue reading Rushing To Mine A Sea Floor Full Of Treasure — And Unique Creatures

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14
Nov
2018

Source: Financial Times
Author: Henry Sanderson

Miners want to tap subsea cobalt deposits for green technologies, but environmentalists worry.

Gerard Barron brandishes a small black rock — the size of the palm of his hand — and heralds it as the future: “It’s all right here, all the metals we need.”

The Australian entrepreneur believes these rocks, formed over millions of years at the bottom of the ocean, can help satisfy the growing demand for the metals used in batteries and clean energy technologies, and are therefore critical to the transition away from fossil fuels. Less than 20cm wide, the so-called nodules can contain nickel, manganese, copper and cobalt— all set to see a surge in demand over the next decade.

Continue reading Electric vehicles spur race to mine deep sea riches

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31
Oct
2018

Source: Natural History Museum (UK)
Author: Katie Pavid

Scientists have collected data on a tiny sponge thought to be at risk from seabed mining.

This newly discovered species could be a ‘canary in a coal mine’ to allow scientists to monitor the impacts of this new industry.

The Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ) is a vast area of the Pacific Ocean between Mexico and Hawaii. At six million square kilometres, it is roughly 24 times bigger than the UK.

The zone is important because it’s the world’s largest area of ocean that is targeted for deep-sea mining. Mineral companies and nation states, eager to secure access to precious metals, are attracted to the area because it is rich in polymetallic nodules – small chunks of minerals scattered on the seafloor.

Continue reading The tiny sponge that could help preserve our deep oceans

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24
Oct
2018

Source: Ecologist
Author: Oliver Tickell

Innovative research is uncovering previously unknown species in deep seas vulnerable to over-fishing, pollution and habitat destruction.

Oceans researcher and campaigner Alex Rogers first experienced the full visual impact of ocean plastic pollution in 2015: “I was diving in Honduras in 2015 at Utila in the Bay Islands and there were all these beautiful coral reefs, but as we came around the island we were faced with a raft of rubbish stretching out as far as you could see: plastic bottles, expanded polystyrene, fibreglass, every kind of human waste you could imagine … I have never witnessed such a huge quantity of debris. It was horrific.”

Not that it was his first brush with ocean plastic. That had come three years earlier, when he and his team were exploring seamounts in the Indian Ocean between Madagascar and Antarctica.

Continue reading Novel ecosystems in the deep sea

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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

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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

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