DSM-infographic-greenpeaceGreenpeace has issued a new report highlighting the emerging threat of deep seabed mining. From Greenpeace:

As land-based minerals become depleted and prices rise, the search for new sources of supply is turning to the sea floor. This emerging industry, facilitated by advances in technology, poses a major threat to our oceans, which are already suffering from a number of pressures including overfishing, pollution, and the effects of climate change. …

The oceans hang in the balance. There is no more time to waste. On top of a number of other existing threats, our oceans could face the potentially devastating impacts of deep seabed mining by 2016.

From the report:

A growing number of companies and governments– including Canada, Japan, South Korea, China and the UK – are currently rushing to claim rights to explore and exploit minerals found in and on the seabed, such as copper, manganese, cobalt and rare earth metals. There are currently 17 exploration contracts for the seabed that lies beyond national jurisdiction in the deep seas of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans, compared with only 8 contracts in 2010. Contract holders will be able to apply for licences to carry out commercial mining in the high seas as soon as regulations for exploitation are developed – anticipated as early as 2016. There is also significant exploration interest within national waters, particularly in the Pacific Ocean, and one licence to mine the deep seabed has already been granted in Papua New Guinean water

Download the full report here.