A coalition of non-profit organizations is pushing for an international moratorium on deep-sea mining following a fresh report that warns of potential irreversible damage to Pacific island states including Kiribati, the Cook Islands, Nauru, Tonga, Papua New Guinea and Tuvalu.
“Accumulated scientific evidence indicates that the impacts of nodule mining in the Pacific Ocean would be extensive, severe and last for generations, causing essentially irreversible damage,” the report, commissioned by the Deep Sea Mining Campaign and MiningWatch Canada, found.
Polymetallic nodules — potato-sized metals-rich rocks that lie in a shallow layer of mud on the seafloor — are believed to be rich in cobalt, nickel, copper, manganese and rare earth metals.
According to the US Geological Survey, as the deep-sea accounts for more than half the world’s surface, its riches are several times higher than those found in all land reserves combined.
DeepGreen Metals, a Canadian start-up planning to extract cobalt and other battery metals from the seafloor, believes that deep-sea mining has the potential to eliminate or dramatically reduce most of the environmental and social impacts associated with traditional mining.
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