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Deadlines and delays: What to expect from the next ISA meeting

After a multiple-month delay in response to the global pandemic, the International Seabed Authority is set to convene the second part of the 26th Session in Kingston Jamaica this December. While the format of the December meeting has not yet been announced, a previous postponement from July to October had the meeting substantially abridged compared […]

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Tools of Ore: Surveying the current state of deep-sea mining technology

Although the political negotiations surrounding the establishment of a Mining Code are frequently the driving factor in the development and advancement of the deep-sea mining industry, the technology necessary to actually access the seafloor and recover ore from the deep ocean presents just as many challenges. The rules of the International Seabed Authority even provide […]

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The long life of plastic waste at an experimental mining site.

Not all scientific research begins with specific intent. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, as ocean scientists embarked on an ambitious plan to understand the potential impacts of deep-sea mining by simulating the disturbance caused by removing polymetallic nodules from the seafloor, they inadvertently seeded an entirely different experiment, which would ultimately provide insight […]

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Bioprospecting in Practice: How a drug goes from the ocean to the clinic.

Bioprospecting, the discovery of new pharmaceutical compounds, industrial chemicals, and novel genes from natural systems, is frequently cited among the critical non-mineral commercial activities that yield value from the deep ocean. Isolating new chemicals or molecular processes from nature can provide substantial benefits to numerous industries. The value of products derived from marine genetic resources […]

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The last days of Nautilus Minerals.

After nearly two decades of promise and two years of confusion and uncertainty, it looks like the curtain has finally closed on Solwara I and Nautilus Minerals. In the mid-2000’s, Nautilus Minerals made their mark as the first commercial venture to explore seafloor massive sulphides for potential mineral extraction. In the early 2010’s the company […]

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The Armor of the Iron Snail

Throughout the animal kingdom, evolution has devised myriad ways for organisms to protect themselves from predators, competitors, and their environment. The advent of hard, biomineralized shells — shells formed from minerals extracted from the environment and reconstituted through biological — is a major development in the evolution of life on earth.  Most biomineralization comes in […]

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