Deep-sea mining

Focus areas

Extracting minerals from ocean depths of more than 200m is seen by some as a strategic path to secure critical minerals for the low-carbon transition. Given the human impact, environmental damage and waste associated with terrestrial mining (along with declining ore grades and fewer new resource discoveries), supporters of deep sea mining (DSM) say the process is a lower impact means of acquiring minerals, including rare earth elements, cobalt and lithium.  

However, understanding of the deep sea and its ecosystems is still limited, making it difficult to conduct impact assessments and implement safeguards for DSM. Bodies including the International Union for Conservation of Nature maintain that DSM could have significant unforeseen consequences, including marine pollution and the elimination of entire species.