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REMPs and the Ecosystem Approach: lessons from the Évora workshop

Maila Guilhon for the Deep-sea Mining Observer In 2007, scientists first convened a workshop to discuss conservation measures in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone, leading ultimately to the establishment of the first Environmental Management Plan for mining in the Area. Now, evaluating and establishing Regional Environmental Management Plans (REMPs) are  a significant component of deep-sea mining discussions. […]

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A Primer on Polymetallic Nodule Fields

Scattered across the abyssal plain at depths from 4000 to 6500 meters, polymetallic nodules are the most abundant and broadly distributed of the three major ore types currently being pursued by deep-sea mining companies. Originally referred to as manganese nodules, this small, potato-sized accretions on the seafloor were first discovered during the Challenger Expedition in […]

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Solid state batteries could change the seascape for deep-sea mining

In 1980, Dr. John B. Goodenough unraveled the electro-chemical reactions that would give birth to one of the single most important inventions of the 20th century: the lithium ion battery. The first commercially viable rechargeable lithium ion batteries were soon being produced by Dr. Akira Yoshino at Sony. Without these tiny cells’ immense potential to […]

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Ramping up for REMPs: An introduction to Regional Environmental Management Plans.

As deep-sea mining creeps towards production and the International Seabed Authority works diligently to produce a comprehensive Mining Code for exploitation in the Area, stakeholders from across the spectrum are racing to answer one question: how do we predict, assess, manage, and mitigate environmental harm in the deep sea beyond national jurisdiction? Increasingly, regulators, contractors, […]

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Barnacles attached to hydrothermal vent spires feeding at Kawio Barat. Critics of the Solwara 1 project raised concerns about its potential impact on the ecosystems that center on hydrothermal vents. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, INDEX-SATAL 2010

A Primer on Seafloor Massive Sulphides

Formed at the margins where tectonic plates collide or diverge, seafloor massive sulphides are the most geologically active and among the most metal-rich deep-sea deposits. Only discovered in 1977 (though there were some tantalizing near misses several decades earlier), exploration on these prospects is relatively immature compared to formations like polymetallic nodule fields, which have […]

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Cobalt-rich Crusts collected from the Tropic Seamount. Photo courtesy NERC.

A Primer on Cobalt-rich Crusts

Scattered throughout the ocean are thick, metal-rich crusts that grow slowly on the exposed sides of seamounts. Among the three major ore types that are the predominant focus of deep-sea mining, these cobalt-rich crusts have received the least attention. While polymetallic nodules have occupied the deep-sea mining community’s collective imagination since the genesis of the […]

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A watershed summer for electric vehicles

Electric vehicles made a huge splash this summer, with nearly every major car manufacturer announcing a new line of all-electric, hybrid, or plug-in hybrid vehicles. Battery manufacturers announced huge leaps in production. And major shipping companies declared new commitments to electrifying their fleets while nations set ambitious targets for transitioning away from internal combustion engines.  […]

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