KIRA COLEY on MARINE TECHNOLOGY NEWS | 24 October 2017
“Over millions of years, metal particles accrete onto sediment grains slowly forming lumps of commercially-valuable metallic ores in deep aphotic basins three miles underwater. As resources dwindle, mining companies are increasingly looking to the ocean to provide the metals and minerals we need. But environmental concerns hang heavy over the deep-sea mining industries. Before we venture into places untouched by humankind, the ABYSSLINE project sought to discover what animals wait in the path of destruction and, more importantly, what fate has in store for those communities when mining begins.
Polymetallic nodules, sometimes known as manganese nodules, are found in vast deep-sea basins at depths of 3,500 to 6,500 meters across the world’s oceans. The most profitable fields, however, are found in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Within the Pacific, an area around the size of Europe called the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ), extends from the west coast of Mexico to Hawaii. This region has the world’s largest and most valuable beds, hosting around 21 billion metric tons of nodules, that form at a sluggish rate of a few millimeters every million years.”