A new front has been opened in our war against the planet. The government of Papua New Guinea has granted a 20 year extraction licence for deep sea mining to the Canadian firm Nautilus Minerals. This will be the worlds first commercial deep sea mining operation and is being keenly observed by other interested parties.
The Deep Sea Mining Campaign , a coalition against the operation, estimates that around 1m sq kilometres of seabed in the asia-pacific region is under exploration licence.
According to a report in the Guardian, the process will involve levelling underwater hydrothermal "chimmneys" which leak loads of minerals and then pumping the sediment to a ship for mineral extraction and then dropping the waste back onto the seabed.
This could have a devastating effect on the local ecosystem
In our desire for metals, we could easily cause a disaster.
Papua New Guinea has a rather unpleasant history concerning corporate access to and extraction of mineral resources. One has only to look at Bougainville, with the, alleged deaths of more than 10,000 islanders to be reminded of how tragically these things can turn out.