Canada is not ready for deep-sea mining

Date: March 26, 2019

Source: The Narhwal
Author: Sonia Jind

Until recently, the largest ecosystem on earth has stayed mostly beyond human reach.

But a new chapter in resource extraction could open up Earth’s most remote places to industrial development.

The deep sea, broadly considered the area of ocean below 200 metres, encompasses half of the world’s total ocean estate. To this day, just 5 per cent of the ocean abyss has been explored. It is only in the last decade that major advances in ocean-exploring technology, growing demand for metals used for tech gadgets, and the diminishing availability of these metals on land has created the burgeoning industry of deep sea mining.

This year, Canadian-registered company Nautilus Minerals Inc. is slated to begin Solwara 1, an operation in Papua New Guinea that will extract seafloor massive sulphides from hydrothermal vent ecosystems in the deep sea. Each year, this operation plans to extract 1.3 million tonnes of vent and seabed material high in copper, zinc, gold and silver.

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