Tuesday September 29, 2015
Deep sea mining's new frontier poses environmental risks
The surface of the Earth is set to get a lot more crowded over the next 15 years. The UN estimates the global population will surge by another 1.2 billion. And that means a lot of new homes, electronic devices, and infrastructure.
All those things require a lot of minerals and the coming demand has some mining companies beginning to look beyond the deposits accessible on land.
Deep sea mining is coming
Mining the sea floor for minerals and precious metals is no longer science fiction. As companies gear up to make deep sea mining a reality, today our project Ripple Effect asks what the consequences could be.
So far, the International Seabed Authority, or ISA, which regulates the seafloor, has granted 26 licenses to companies to explore various areas in international waters for deep sea mining. The ISA is currently drafting regulations on how the mining should occur, when that time comes.
What type of regulation is necessary?
A group of international researchers are urging caution and calling for the ISA to designate Marine Protected Zones:
- Craig Smith is a professor of Oceanography at the University of Hawaii.
- Matthias Haeckel is the Senior Scientist from GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel.
One Canadian company is set to break ground on the seafloor off the coast of Papua New Guinea.
- Mike Johnston is the CEO of Nautilus Minerals Inc., and he was in Brisbane, Australia, where their project office is located.
This segment was produced by The Current's Sonya Buyting.