Polymetallic Nodules

Will nodule mining destroy our deep sea ecosystem services?

Will nodule mining destroy our deep sea ecosystem services?

Gerald McCormack, Natural Heritage Trust
First published Cook Islands News (29 May 2021),  updated here (29 May 2021)

In an article concerning the possibility of seabed nodule mining in the Cook Islands (Cook Islands News 27 March), Te Ipukarea Society wrote “We are confident that further research will show that the goods and services that the ocean provides humanity are actually worth many times more than what we will get from mining, and for a much longer term.”

In discussing this claim I will focus on deep sea services because with a precautionary approach to nodule mining the main impacts will be in the deep sea rather than the surface waters. The variety and global values of the main deep sea services are presented in the 2020 Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) circular: “Economic value of ecosystem services from the deep sea and the areas beyond national jurisdiction” (Ottaviani 2020). Although the circular is focused on the “areas beyond national jurisdiction” (ABNJ), or International Waters, it also includes the deep sea within “exclusive economic zones” (EEZs), which makes it inclusive of the Cook Islands polymetallic nodule fields. Continue reading →

Posted by Gerald in Deep Seabed Mining, Ecology, 0 comments
Cook Islands Seabed Minerals – the booklet

Cook Islands Seabed Minerals – the booklet

Gerald McCormack, Natural Heritage Trust
Booklet published 2016. Available here 28 April 2021

An oblique view of the seabed across the South Penrhyn Basin to the Manihiki Plateau.

The Trust’s booklet “Cook Islands Seabed Minerals – a precautionary approach to mining” was published in 2016 after three years of research.

The booklet provides baseline information on the environment and the possible impacts of a typical nodule mining scenario. The information should enable everyone to develop their own views and questions to participate in discussions.  And, in particular, to participate in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) that will decide if mining can occur or not.

You can open it to read and download here:  The Trust’s Booklet

Continue reading →

Posted by Gerald in Deep Seabed Mining, Marine, 0 comments