World - What’s deep-sea mining? Risks and challenges of the new industrial frontier
This is a turning point for a gargantuan industry, but the environmental damage could be catastrophic.
The deep sea, the area of the ocean below 200 meters, could soon become the new frontier of mining activities. Companies and countries are rushing to get the green light to start extracting minerals from cobalt to manganese from the bottom of the sea. ‘Not so fast’, say conservationists.
While they can be found in abundance on land, most mineral deposits are running short as our society is fueling an increasing demand for such resources, especially for green energy technologies and consumer electronics. This has led many to draw their attention to the minerals on the deep sea.
The seafloor contains a wide array of geological resources and supports countless species, many still unknown to science. It is a highly understudied part of the world, hosting an abundance of species uniquely adapted to harsh conditions such as lack of sunlight and high pressure.