Mining companies are starting to show great interest in the fact that the seabed contains large quantities of valuable materials, including copper and gold. The Canadian-based Nautilus has already got the go-ahead to begin exploratory mining off Papua New Guinea. Australia is considering allowing mining along its beautiful coast and now India seems to be getting on the bandwagon, primarily in a bid to reduce dependence on China.
The problem, nobody knows what the effect of mining a mile below the surface will be. It will certainly involve large-scale destruction of seabed habitats, some of which are new to science. Which creatures will disappear and what the impact will be on the larger sea ecosystems, including the world’s fisheries, is unknown, but it could be devastating.
Before mining companies are allowed to do whatever they like in an unregulated gold rush, proper environmental impact assessments are essential. Ask the International Seabed Authority to ensure that this happens
We the undersigned ask that you ensure that proper environmental impact assessments of the impact of seabed mining are done as a matter of urgency. At the moment, it appears that countries and mining corporations are rushing into this without any idea of what the consequences will be.
Aside from their intrinsic importance, ocean ecosystems are essential to humanity and the consequences of unregulated and uncontrolled mining could be catastrophic. Nothing can be done to mitigate the impact until it is known what the impact could be and what, if anything, could be done to minimize it. For this reason, more information is urgently needed, before the various proposed seabed mining projects go into action.
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