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Deep seabed mining: A note on some potentials and risks to the sustainable mineral extraction from the oceans

Leal Filho, W and Abubakar, IR and Nunes, C and Platje, J and Ozuyar, PG and Will, M and Nagy, GJ and Al-Amin, AQ and Hunt, JD and Li, C (2021) Deep seabed mining: A note on some potentials and risks to the sustainable mineral extraction from the oceans. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, 9 (5). ISSN 2077-1312

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Abstract

The rapidly increasing global populations and socio-economic development in the Global South have resulted in rising demand for natural resources. There are many plans for harvesting natural resources from the ocean floor, especially rare metals and minerals. However, if proper care is not taken, there is substantial potential for long-lasting and even irreversible physical and environmental impacts on the deep-sea ecosystems, including on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. This paper reviews the literature on some potentials and risks to deep seabed mining (DSM), outlining its legal aspects and environmental impacts. It presents two case studies that describe the environmental risks related to this exploitative process. They include significant disturbance of the seabed, light and noise pollution, the creation of plumes, and negative impacts on the surface, benthic, and meso-and bathypelagic zones. The study suggests some of the issues interested companies should consider in preventing the potential physical and environmental damages DSM may cause. Sustainable mining and the use of minerals are vital in meeting various industrial demands.

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