Deep sea mining significantly less harmful to environment, new study claims

New research published this week has claimed that undersea mining poses fewer environmental and social challenges than the traditional extraction of minerals on land.

The study published this week and funded by Canada’s DeepGreen Metals – a start-up planning to extract cobalt and other battery metals from the seabed – found that deep sea mining generates up to 70% less direct CO2 emissions.

Mining the ocean floor would also eliminate the issue of solid waste, while using 94% less land and 92% less forest, the report reads.

The study provides a broader context for a deeper, multi-year environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) being conducted by DeepGreen, which the company says will be the largest integrated seabed-to-surface deep-ocean science programme ever conducted.

DeepGreen’s aim is to scoop up small metallic rocks located thousands of metres below the surface in the Pacific Ocean, as opposed to other seafloor miners focused on drilling, blasting and digging the ocean surface.

However, academics and scientists are concerned by the lack of research on the possible impacts of deep sea mining. Two years ago, the European Parliament called for a ban on seabed mining until the environmental impacts and risks are better understood.