Deep Sea Mining

Continuing the discussion from Offshore Crisis, the 2020… version:

There’s an ecological impact we know little about that need to be addressed before going hog wild.

“It may be that [DSM] can be done in a way that doesn’t cause species extinctions or major loss of ecosystem services, although we still don’t know enough to be able to say that.”

There is a a short video below about what environmentalists think of seabed mining.

The guy makes a good point, if we can’t mine for raw materials how do environmentalists expect all the equipment to be made to produce and store green energy?

1 Like

Supreme Catch 22.

what on earth resides on the bottom of the ocean 4000m down that is more important than the future of the planet 4000m above? Sorry but worms, sponges, jellies, etc. must take a backseat to the need for humans to reduce the use of fossil fuels.

I believe that humans are contributing to global warming however I have been of the belief that our need for continuing to use fossil fuels over rides the increase in temperatures although doing as much as we can to reduce the use of fossil fuels can’t hurt and that means batteries (of course what produces the current to charge those batteries needs to become carbon net zero if this is to have any impact) and batteries mean cobalt, nickel, manganese, lithium, and on and on and on.

1 Like

It’s more than the potential for the loss of some worms and sponges. If you read the article there’s an element of unknown unknown that could potentially affect climate. I have no way of knowing if those concerns are valid or not but it’s probably a good idea to look into it before setting off a chain reaction of ecological disasters.

except how will humans ever know how the deep seafloor effects the planet above and we are trading a disaster we know for one which we don’t know and is highly unlikely. I mean seriously, how could what is changes 4000m down on the bottom of the ocean really effect the world on the surface? If we all agree that the use of fossil fuels is hurting the planet and that we need to reduce their use which means millions and millions of high tech batteries, then we have to find the means to build those batteries in the quantity and quality required. Finding the minerals to manufacture them on the surface is limited and has already shown that it has its own detrimental environmental and human effects. If all of them can be acquired on the seafloor in the amount needed, I say let’s go and hopefully US mariners won’t be shut out and left in the cold as a massive new maritime industry develops.

4 Likes

I’m all for it; the environmental concerns may be overblown but we shouldn’t automatically ignore the possible consequences.

1 Like

What if human hubris gets in the way. We tend to think we know better when it comes to Mother Nature.

What if they don’t get it quite right and end up liberating 15 to 40 percent of the earths carbon as a byproduct of their mining efforts.

3 Likes

That is why NDP is conducting detailed survey of the Mohn Ridge in the Norwegian Sea BEFORE issuing any permit to perform actual mining there?:

read the 2nd article…methane hydrates don’t exist below 3000m and the nodules being discussed are at 4000m

Think I would go with c.captain on this one. Guy knows his shit.

Not all mining will be at those depths. At least one player is looking elsewhere.

Neptune Minerals is focusing its efforts at SMS sites at the more prospective convergent plate margin sites which are dominant in the “West Pacific Ring of Fire” in water depths between approximately 500 and 2500 meters.

Granted their target may not be nodules per se but the sulfide rich deposits.

I’m not against the concept and I would love to see some stacked units converted. Been watching this Neptune thing for a long time and their info seems to have changed from active mining to a role further “upstream” now mentioning the sale of their tenements as a revenue approach.

But my point was in development of these resources we as a species might want to consider the unintended consequences. Perhaps merely saying “what could go wrong” during ramp up may not be the best risk assessment strategy. Serious people Have been studying this for years and the Internet has loads of info about methods, legal aspects and environmental aspects. I don’t think we are likely to get the last word on this from a gCaptain thread where standard procedure for some seems to be trot out the evil environmentalist labels at the drop of a hat. There’s tons of info available.

It’s not a matter of “what if” it’s when. Look what hubris has done to the nuclear power industry.

Search using the terms "deep sea mining and “sediment plumes”

Of particular importance for the water column is the discharge of the tailings from dewatering of the ore, which will introduce sediment and dissolved metals over potentially large areas. A single polymetallic-nodule mining operation is estimated to discharge 50,000 meters-cubed of sediment, broken mineral fines, and seawater per day (∼8 kilograms per meter-cubed solids) and a hydrothermal vent operation could discharge 22,000 to 38,000 meters-cubed per day (10, 12). These discharges could run continuously for up to 30 years, producing 500,000,000 meters-cubed of discharge over the lifetime of one operation.

Very fine clay sediments could stay in suspension for several years, and along with dissolved metals they could be carried by ocean currents for hundreds of kilometers (11), dispersing far beyond the mining zone in concentrations that are still to be determined. There is currently no regulation or guidance on the depth or manner in which tailings can be discharged into the environment. Given the risk of ecological harm, the need to consider the potential adverse effects from seabed mining to midwater ecosystems and services, and our state of knowledge in evaluating these risks, is critical.