Swiping life from the great unknown


(all links and formatting mine)

Apparently, a company in Canada (Nautilus Marine Inc.) has just signed a contract to have 2 huge machines built that they intend to use to extract minerals from the ocean floor, approximately one mile below the surface of the ocean. These machines operate like huge, abrasive vacuum cleaners. The minerals are copper, tin, gold and zinc, and are found in deposits that are called poly-metallic.

A black smoker, a type of hydrothermal vent

A black smoker, a type of hydrothermal vent (source)

The goal is to place these machines at the edges of deep water trenches and remove these deposits by vacuuming the sea floor.  They claim that they will crush all the rock that is removed.  This may sound benign, but we need to take very careful look at what the environment is like down there. 

Very little is known about the ecosystems around these vents and now Nautilus Mineral Inc. wants to send some machines down 1700 meters (5,570 feet) and vacuum up all the life forms along with some rocks that will then be hauled to the surface and crushed.  There have been no peer reviewed studies done on this process of extraction, but Nautilus Mineral has already worked out a deal with Papua New Guinea to do an experimental operation off of their coast. 

Tube worms feeding at base of a black smoker.

Tube worms feeding at base of a black smoker. (source)

Apparently, again, in an article the company claims that this form of mining will be less polluting than land based mining.  And we all know what a great success story strip mining, coal mining and mountain top removal mining (more here) have been.  How can they state this when there have been no independent studies to prove that? 

For more and to read the entire article:

New Mining Technique Threatens Habitat and Ocean Wildlife

Additional Ref:

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