Discovery could throw monkey wrench into deep-sea mining

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Hydrothermal vents, known as black smokers, are relatively common at the Alarcon Rise hydrothermal vent field. Photo courtesy of MBARI

TODD WOODY of OCEANS DEEPLY ON UPI | 3 August 2017

“Over the next three weeks, the International Seabed Authority is meeting in Jamaica to, among other things, draft environmental regulations to govern the mining of the deep sea. The mission: to fulfill the United Nations-chartered organization’s mandate to preserve the biological diversity of the mostly unexplored seabed while allowing the extraction of metals that make possible smartphones, solar panels and other products used by the most committed environmentalist and rapacious industrialist alike.

That job just got harder.

A new discovery appears to blow a hole in a major premise of seabed mining – that if a marine ecosystem reliant on one hydrothermal vent field is destroyed, life will go on at adjacent vents and, over time, the mined site could be recolonized by the same species.”

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