Archives

Greenpeace organized a peaceful demonstration on the protection of the ocean outside the headquarters of the ISA. Photo ENB.

From the Editor: Big moves at the second part of the 25th Session of the International Seabed Authority

Last week saw the conclusion of the 25th Session of the International Seabed Authority. Though much progress was made, significant work still lies ahead to meet to self-imposed 2020 deadline for implementing the draft exploitation regulations. As always, the Earth Negotiations Bulletin has provided a comprehensive summary of the overall meeting as well as day-to-day […]

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A big-hearted iron snail is the first deep-sea species to be declared endangered due to seabed mining.

In 2001, on an expedition to hydrothermal vent fields in the Indian Ocean, researchers made a bizarre discovery. Clustered in small aggregations around the base of a black smoker was an unusual snail, seemingly clad in a suit of armor. Rather than a single, hard, calcareous structure, the snail’s operculum was covered in a series […]

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From the Editor: US Mineral Policy and an atomic legacy.

Last year, for a completely unrelated project, I conducted a census of how many nuclear weapons had been lost at sea. Since then, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the interplay between military, scientific, and commercial use of the high seas, as well as, perhaps, the most improbable question of all: what happens […]

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26 years after experimental mining, a seabed ecosystem has yet to recover

In 1989, the largest attempt to model the impacts of a deep-sea mining operation was conducted across 1100 hectares of seafloor in the Peru Basin. The Disturbance and Recolonization Experiment (DISCOL) simulated polymetallic nodule extraction by dragging an 8-meter plough-harrow across a nodule field, creating 78 troughs that mimicked one likely consequence of dragging a […]

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A nodule harvester. Image courtesy DeepGreen.

DeepGreen raises $150 million as it advances towards production

DeepGreen Metals has secured $150 million in funding through a partnership with Allseas Group to launch the mining company’s first large-scale feasibility studies. These trials, slated for completion in 2023, will help pave the way for commercial exploitation of polymetallic nodules in the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone. DeepGreen views polymetallic nodule extraction as an essential step […]

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Diamond mining moves offshore and into the deep.

Of the coast of Namibia, in barely 200 meters of water, an entirely different kind of deep-sea mining is taking shape. The target is neither precious metals, rare earth elements, or the minerals destined to supply next-generation batteries and power cells, but diamonds. The company is De Beers, the world’s largest diamond producer, and they […]

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The Triton 36000/2 Hadal Exploration System. Photo courtesy Triton Submarines.

Privately funded human-occupied vehicle returns from Challenger Deep

For only the third time in history, a human-occupied vehicle made the 11-kilometer journey into Challenger Deep, the deepest point in the ocean, and, more importantly, returned. Its occupant, investor Victor Vescovo, became the fourth person, behind Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard in the Trieste, and James Cameron in the Deepsea Challenger, to reach the […]

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