Deep-sea mining adds to fears of marine pollution

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Chine: Plongeur en tenue sur le point d’être immergé. AFP PHOTO/JIJI PRESS

Concerns about large-scale marine pollution, fuelled by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, are set to be heightened by a new development in exploitation of the oceans: deep-sea mining.

The Chinese government has just lodged the first application to mine for minerals under the seabed in international waters, in this case on a ridge in the Indian Ocean 1,700 metres (more than 5,000ft) below the surface.

The Chinese are hoping to recover valuable metals such as copper, nickel and cobalt – used in mobile phones, laptops and batteries – as well as gold and silver, in an area of currently inactive “hydrothermal vents”, underwater geysers driven by volcanic activity.

The Independent

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