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Delegates gather during an informal meeting. Photo courtesy ISA.

The Five Most Talked about Moments from the ISA Council Meeting

It was a cool week in Kingston as representatives from member states, observers, NGOs, and other stakeholders gathered at the International Seabed Authority to continue the quarter-century-long process of guiding mineral extraction in the high seas towards production. Discussions were broad in vision, focused in scope, and soberingly detailed. While everything from the percentage points […]

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International Seabed Authority internship associate legal officer environmental management plans Women and girls in science ISA Releases Stakeholder Submissions to Draft Exploitation Regulations

Open-ended Informal Working Group advances discussions on financial model for mineral exploitation in the international seabed area

Representatives from Member States, civil society organizations and contractors, gathered at the International Seabed Authority (ISA) Headquarters in Kingston, Jamaica, this week, for an open ended informal working group meeting established to advance discussions on the financial model for mineral exploitation in the international deep seabed area. Established by the ISA Council in July 2018, the […]

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A polymetallic nodule from the Clarion Clipperton Fracture Zone, purchased from an online dealer. 

Nodules for sale: tracking the origin of polymetallic nodules from the CCZ on the open market. 

You can buy a 5-lb bag of polymetallic nodules from the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone on Amazon, right now. Depending on your vantage point and how long you’ve participated in the deep-sea mining community, this will either come as a huge surprise or be completely unexceptional. Prior to the formation of the International Seabed Authority, there […]

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Figure 1. From Turner et al. (2019)

Identifying and communicating the value of a hydrothermal vent

The deep sea has a PR problem. Most people have little to no conception of what deep ocean ecosystems look like, what lives there, or how human well-being may depend on them. Deep-sea ecosystems provide many indirect services that benefit humanity, yet they are poorly quantified and infrequently discussed.  A new paper by graduate student […]

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Colossal Advancements in Accessible Deep-Ocean Technology

Accessing the deep seafloor is no small feat. Nations, institutions, contractors, and corporations make major capital investment into the tools and machines needed to explore and, ultimately, exploit the deep ocean. The enormous costs involved in deploying even basic equipment in 6000 meters of water has been among the biggest limiting factors in the development […]

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How to access a research paper.

Deep-sea mining, as both an industry and community of practice, is highly engaged in the scientific process. From plume flow models to environmental baselines to new engineering advancements, much of the core discussions happening in deep sea mining happens within the scientific literature. This is incredibly valuable when it comes to fostering partnerships and collaborations […]

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Cut rock samples from the Rio Grande Rise show Fe-Mn crusts (black and gray) growing on various types of iron-rich substrate rocks (pale to dark brown). Photo credit: Kira Mizell, USGS.

A lost continent rich in cobalt crusts could create a challenging precedent for mineral extraction in the high seas.

The Rio Grande Rise is an almost completely unstudied, geologically intriguing, ecologically mysterious, potential lost continent in the deep south Atlantic. And it also hosts dense cobalt-rich crusts. The Rio Grande Rise is a region of deep-ocean seamounts roughly the area of Iceland in the southwestern Atlantic. It lies west of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge off […]

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The MV Nor Sky, a vessel chartered in 2008 by Nautilus Minerals to conduct environmental assessment at Solwara I, steams past the Tavurvur volcano near Rabaul. 

For Nautilus Minerals, the debt comes due.

2018 was supposed to be the year for Nautilus Minerals. Their three seafloor production tools—large underwater robots capable of mining seafloor massive sulphides from 1600 meters depth—were finally in hand and undergoing submerged testing. Their ship, the Nautilus New Era, was nearing completion. They had only a few hurdles left to clear before beginning production […]

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Fig 3. Examples of metazoan megafauna photographed at the APEI6 seafloor during AUV survey. Scale bars representing 50 mm. (a) Actiniaria msp-6. (b) Actiniaria msp-13. (c) Bathygorgia cf. profunda. (d) Abyssopathes cf. lyra. (e) Left: Chonelasma sp.; right: Hyalonema sp. (f) Cladorhiza cf. kensmithi. (g) Bathystylodactylus cf. echinus. (h) Nematocarcinus sp. (i) Sabellida msp-1 (polychaete). (j) Left: Freyastera sp.; right: Caulophacus sp. (k) Psychropotes cf. longicauda. (l) Benthodytes cf. typica. (m) Coryphaenoides sp. (n) Typhlonus nasus. o and p: probable new Mastigoteuthis sp. Same specimen photographed with different cameras: (o) vertical view; (p) oblique view (Image taken ∼1″ prior to the vertical shot).

A year of discovery in the deep sea

2018 was a banner year for studies highlighting the importance of hydrothermal vents not just to the highly specialized communities that thrive around seafloor massive sulphides, but also to the surrounding benthic community. Vents provide nursery grounds for octopuses and deep-sea skates, but they also provide food for deep-sea and shallow water animals. At shallow-water […]

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The abridged version of our info-graphic that went out with the newsletter. Check below for the full version.

From the Editor: An update on Solwara I and a call for article pitches.

This was a big month for deep-sea meetings, with workshops on risk management and high seas cable laying, as well as strong representation from the deep-sea mining community at NOAA’s Ocean Exploration Forum. There’s so much going on in deep-sea mining right now that it’s tough for stakeholders to grasp the scale of the industry. […]

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