World - Deep Seabed Mining Is an Avoidable Environmental Disaster

New report, “In Too Deep: What We Know, And Don’t Know, About Deep Seabed Mining,” outlines likely impacts of deep seabed mining on ecosystems and biodiversity, and risks of allowing industry to proceed.

The investigation “In Too Deep: What We Know, And Don’t Know, About Deep Seabed Mining”, released today by WWF, argues that there are many unknowns and much to do in ocean science, policy and industry innovations before any deep seabed mining activities should be allowed to take place.

WWF says industry plans to mine the deep seabed for metals and minerals such as cobalt, lithium and nickel would have a destructive impact on deep-sea ecosystems and biodiversity, which could have knock-on effects on fisheries, livelihoods and food security, and compromise ocean carbon and nutrient cycles.

“Industry wants us to think mining the deep sea is necessary to meet demand for minerals that go into electric vehicle batteries and the electronic gadgets in our pockets. But it’s not so,” says Jessica Battle, leader of WWF’s No Deep Seabed Mining Initiative. “We don’t have to trash the ocean to decarbonize. Instead, we should be directing our focus toward innovation and the search for less resource-intensive products and processes. We call on investors to look for innovative solutions and create a true circular economy that reduces the need to extract finite resources from the Earth.”

The report outlines key environmental and social risks of deep seabed mining, and debunks industry claims about the need for the practice and its ability to mitigate harm. Given the slow pace of deep-sea processes, destroyed habitats are unlikely to recover within human timescales.

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Read also Deep Blue Cobalt: Mining on the Ocean Floor,, Feb. 7, 2021.