Members of the IUCN World Conservation Congress have voted overwhelmingly in support of a moratorium on deep-sea mining, an activity that conservationists say could cause irreversible damage to the ocean.
Deep-sea mining proponents say that mining polymetallic nodules offers an alternative way to procure much-needed minerals for electric car batteries, but conservationists argue that the risks are too great to ignore.
Prized rare metals sitting at the bottom of the sea could play a key role in creating an environmentally sustainable future on land, but scientists worry that deep-sea mining could irreversibly damage a vast and largely pristine ecosystem.
Sabine Christiansen and Sebastian Unger –
A new risk to marine ecosystems is looming on the horizon: Commercial deep-seabed mining for minerals, which will potentially affect the largely untouched deep sea at depths of 2,000 to 4,000 meters.