Deep Sea Mining

Our Position

This is a prominent issue in the Pacific in which the Pacific Peoples’ Partnership firmly stands in solidarity with Indigenous groups and their plights against the alarming extractivist industry.

What is Deep Sea Mining?

Deep Sea Mining (DSM) can be explained as the excavation and extraction of minerals from the ocean’s seabed below 200 meters in depth. Many of the potential ecological consequences of such mining are understudied and not yet well-understood, but despite this, interest in the industry has been on the rise reportedly due to the depletion of terrestrial resources.

Potential Impacts

  • Seafloor Disturbance:
    • Excavation of the ocean’s seabed can permanently destroy deep-sea habitats essential for many marine species.
    • The excavation of the seabed also has the potential to destroy the ecosystems of essential microbial organisms by disturbing the physical components of the ecosystems.
  • Sediment Plumes:
    • Mining will cause sediment and debris to be “stirred-up” from the ocean floor, casting plumes of particles to float suspended in the ocean’s water.
    • These plumes would likely cause issues for the ocean ecosystem by blocking animals’ visual communication, harming important filter-feeding organisms, and also likely smothering other marine animals.
  • Pollution:
    • The noise and light pollution associated with marine mining could negatively affect significant keystone species like whales, tuna, and sharks.
    • Surface equipment also poses a risk of creating fuel and toxic chemical spills, further introducing harmful pollutants into the marine environment.

Resources

For more information & how to get involved, visit the following organizations:

  • The Pacific Blue Line
    • An initiative created by The Pacific Parliamentarians’ Alliance on Deep Sea Mining (PPADSM) and dedicated to advocating against DSM.
  • IUCN – Deep Sea Mining
    • Visit their ‘Issues Brief’ on DSM for more information on the issue.
  • Greenpeace
    • An organization that is also working to prevent DSM and provides opportunities for involvement.
    • They released a report detailing the key players in DSM and the major impacts that will follow from it. Read the report here.
  • The Deep Sea Conservation Coalition
    • The Deep Sea Conservation Coalition is a coalition of over 100 non-government organizations, fishers organizations and law and policy institutes working together to protect deep sea ecosystems. They have extensive research on DSM.
  • Deep Sea Mining Campaign
    • The Deep Sea Mining Campaign is a project and coalition designs by the Ocean Foundation to stop exploratory deep sea mining in the Pacific.
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