Rushing To Mine A Sea Floor Full Of Treasure — And Unique Creatures

Date: November 19, 2018

Source: Honolulu Civil Beat
Author: Stewart Yerton

Critics fear rules for opening a swath of ocean bed between Mexico and Hawaii won’t protect “the most pristine wilderness on the planet.”

Deep on the floor of the Pacific Ocean, amidst one of earth’s greatest unexploited reserves of valuable minerals, are ecosystems of otherworldly creatures.

There are fast-moving sea urchins; anemones that perch like flowers atop long sponge stalks; translucent, tentacled sea cucumbers that look like something from Pokemon, and yellow gelatinous critters that University of Hawaii oceanographers have nicknamed “Gummy Squirrels.”

This swath of ocean between Hawaii and Mexico for years has been the focus of a United Nations agency, not because of the region’s psychedelic aquatic life, but because of its enormous mineral wealth. The floor of the Clarion Clipperton Zone, as the area is known, is scattered with billions of rock-like nodules containing valuable metals.

It soon may open up to mining.

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