Mind the seafloor.

Boetius, Antje and Haeckel, Matthias (2018) Mind the seafloor. Science, 359 (6371). pp. 34-36. DOI 10.1126/science.aap7301.

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Research and regulations must be integrated to protect seafloor biota from future mining impacts

As human use of rare metals has diversified and risen with global development, metal ore deposits from the deep ocean floor are increasingly seen as an attractive future resource. Japan recently completed the first successful test for zinc extraction from the deep seabed, and the number of seafloor exploration licenses filed at the International Seabed Authority (ISA) has tripled in the past 5 years. Seafloor-mining equipment is being tested, and industrial-scale production in national waters could start in a few years. We call for integrated scientific studies of global metal resources, the fluxes and fates of metal uses, and the ecological footprints of mining on land and in the sea, to critically assess the risks of deep-sea mining and the chances for alternative technologies. Given the increasing scientific evidence for long-lasting impacts of mining on the abyssal environment, precautionary regulations for commercial deep-sea mining are essential to protect marine ecosystems and their biodiversity.

Document Type: Article
Research affiliation: MARUM
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-MG Marine Geosystems
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
Publisher: AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science)
Projects: JPIO-MiningImpact, MIDAS, Future Ocean, The Ocean in the Earth System
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2018 07:54
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2021 07:34
URI: https://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/41603

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