Deep sea life needs ‘better protection’ from mining, says Victoria University researcher

Date: December 14, 2016

Source: NZ Herald

Author: Jamie Morton

A researcher who has uncovered new insights into New Zealand’s ocean environment says seafloor communities need better protection against any future deep-sea mining.

No companies have yet been granted permits to mine seafloor massive sulphide (SMS) deposits deep below the ocean within New Zealand’s six million sq km Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Five-metre-tall, metal-rich “black smoker” chimneys at Brothers volcano, 450km northeast of Whakatane. Photo / File

Within the EEZ, these deposits – the product of hydrothermal activity and which can contain, copper, zinc, gold and silver – form at volcanoes one to two kilometres below the sea surface along the Kermadec Volcanic Arc, extending about 2500km north of New Zealand. While the Kermadec Arc is designated as “prospective” for SMS mining, it is currently reserved from permitting.While there have been applications to prospect for SMS there, these have been withdrawn.


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