Should we mine the deep seafloor?
Beaulieu, Stace E.
Graedel, Thomas E
Hannington, Mark D.
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KeywordDeep-sea mining; Environmental impacts; Manganese nodules; Seafloor massive sulfides; Sustainable development
As land-based mineral resources become increasingly difficult and expensive to acquire, the potential for mining resources from the deep seafloor has become widely discussed and debated. Exploration leases are being granted, and technologies are under development. However, the quantity and quality of the resources are uncertain, and many worry about risks to vulnerable deep-sea ecosystems. Deep-sea mining has become part of the discussion of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In this article we provide a summary of benefits, costs, and uncertainties that surround this potentially attractive but contentious topic.
© The Author(s), 2017. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Earth's Future 5 (2017): 655–658, doi:10.1002/2017EF000605.
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