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MEI Online: Environmental Issues: Latest News: August 28th 2002

:: Seabed Mining Environmental Studies  

The United Nations' International Seabed Authority is pressing ahead with research projects that will help it to estimate the effects of seabed mining on species that have yet to be discovered.

First, marine scientists will try to discover "a basic understanding of what animals live there, how they are distributed geographically and the extent to which they interbreed". The working party proposed that a planned study of the central Pacific, mainly funded by the JM Kaplan Foundation, of the US, should be adapted to meet its needs.

The work may be accelerated by using molecular biology to record species by examining their genes, "even from animals that have been crushed beyond visual recognition". It is expected that this project will take three-and-a-half years. Led by the University of Hawaii, the Kaplan project will also have the support of the Natural History Museum of London, the British Antarctic Survey, Britain's Southampton Oceanography Centre, the French research organisation Institute for Exploitation of the Sea, and the Japan Marine Science and Technology Centre.

Projects will then be developed to examine the "burial sensitivity" of deep-sea animals, in particular their ability to survive waste material from mining being deposited on top of them. "The aim is to leam what proportion of animals might be killed, and how long it might take for their populations to return to pre-disturbance levels under different mining scenarios". Another research project proposed by the Authority will examine the pollution of the sea levels above a mining area.



Click for more info on Hi-Tech Metals '18

Mining Journal, Aug.23, 2002, p.136

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