Ladder in the middle of nowhere

Article: The Global Mail on mining the bottom of the ocean

Thirty kilometres off the coast of western Papua New Guinea, 1.6 kilometres under the surface, lies the spot that has been mooted to be the world’s first commercial deepwater mine. A cluster of hydrothermal vents – not all of them still active – marks an area of volcanic crust holding high concentrations of gold, silver, copper and lead. Proponents of deep sea mining point out that in volcanically active regions, the seabed is subjected to repeated traumas of reshaping and shifting, and life somehow adapts and persists.

The lifespan of the mine will only be about five years, as the pace of extraction will surpass mines on land. Several other locations that hold promise for underwater mines have already been identifed. It is not known how the mine will affect the marine environment, or the communities living nearby who depend on it for their protein requirements. A 2011 paper points out that we really have no idea what the impact of seabed mining will be.

Read the full article here. It’s immersive and beautifully written, with real concern for the communities who stand to suffer the most if this all goes pear shaped.

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Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

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