Deep Seabed Mining May Come Soon, Says Head of Governing Group

New regulations could open the door for sustainable mining, says the head of the International Seabed Authority. However, he and others pointed to environmental, financial, and technical challenges.

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Deep Seabed Mining
The spotlights of a remotely operated vehicle illuminate carbonate rock spires of the Lost City hydrothermal vent field in the Atlantic Ocean during a 2005 scientific research expedition to the site. Recent approval by the International Seabed Authority for mining exploration in deep-ocean areas worldwide, including Lost City, has prompted some ocean scientists to raise concerns about possible harm to the vents and the ecosystems they support. Credit: IFE, URI-IAO, UW, Lost City Science Party; NOAA/OAR/OER; The Lost City 2005 Expedition, CC BY 2.0

RANDY SHOWSTACK on EOS | 22 November 2017

“The world is “on the threshold of a new industry,” the head of an international body that governs deep-seabed mining said last week. At a 14 November forum in Washington, D. C., Michael Lodge, secretary-general of the International Seabed Authority (ISA), laid out environmental and other challenges to deep-sea mining while maintaining that a new regulatory system could allow the seabed operations to proceed in a sustainable manner. “All the indications are that we are at a decisive point in the long history of attempts to mine the deep seabed,” he said.”

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