Deep-sea mining is the process of extracting valuable minerals and resources from the ocean floor, which can be found in abundance in some areas of the deep sea.
With the growing demand for metals and minerals such as cobalt, copper, gold, nickel, zinc, and rare earth elements, deep-sea mining has gained significant attention in recent years. Deep-sea mining involves various methods to extract mineral resources from the seabed, including dredging, hydraulic mining, and subsea drilling. Dredging involves the use of a large, underwater machine that sucks up sediment from the ocean floor and pumps it to the surface for processing. Hydraulic mining involves the use of high-pressure water jets to break up the ocean floor and extract minerals. Subsea drilling involves drilling into the ocean floor to access minerals beneath the surface.
As an organization committed to protecting the deep sea, we believe that deep-sea mining is a significant threat to the delicate and complex ecosystem of the ocean floor. The deep sea is a unique and fragile ecosystem, and the disruptions caused by mining activities will have severe and long-lasting consequences for marine life, including the destruction of vital habitats, the releasing of toxic chemicals into the water, and large-scale disruptions to the delicate balance of the deep ocean's ecosystem. The deep sea is still largely unexplored, and we have yet to fully understand its complexity, diversity, and importance. The mining industry's rush to exploit its resources will lead to irreversible damage to this ecosystem and a loss of valuable biodiversity that we may never recover.
Mining companies are lobbying extensively to convince the public, governments, and policy makers that deep-sea mining is safe and necessary, while hiding the devastating impact that mining will have on deep-sea environments. Marine Conservation Institute is fighting to implement a global moratorium on deep-seabed mining until scientists learn more about its impacts on sensitive ecosystems.
Dive deeper into the effects of deep-sea mining by watching this panel discussion that our President Dr. Lance Morgan moderated on April 15th, 2023. The panel consisted of Director Matthieu Rytz of the film Deep Rising staring Jason Momoa, Jeanne Everett from Blue Climate Initiative, and Mickey Rogers of Sustainable Ocean Alliance and Pacific North West Laboratory.