According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), there may be substantially more metals in the world’s oceans, and deep-sea mining could be the only solution to the ever-growing demand.
Over the years, there has been the question of whether the existing resources on land are adequate to meet the world’s increasing demand for metals. Mark Hannington from the Geomar Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Germany stated that such an uncertainty is driving the current “deep-sea gold rush”.
Now, several countries and organizations are aggressively pursuing exploration campaigns in their territorial waters to find metals. In particular, the International Seabed Authority has issued contracts to prospect for metals in certain oceans. The target metals include manganese nodules and polymetallic massive sulfide deposits. According to Hannington, deep-sea mining activity is welcomed with fervor, but there is still no actual extraction taking place.
As for the needed equipment, Hannington explained that they are already in the works of being developed and tested. He said:
“The machines for mining manganese nodules have already been built and tested. The machines for mining polymetallic sulfide deposits are sitting on the wharf, waiting to go.”
In terms of monitoring, this area still remains to be unclear, considering that this form of mining is still relatively new.