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Looks like a good solution to obtaining the raw materials required to make electric batteries but some manufacturers have said they wont use any metals sourced from the deep ocean, I keep seeing Greenpeace and other Environmental organisations complaining about how these resources are obtained but they don't seem to provide an alternative, realistically the metals are going to come from somewhere so its about obtaining them in the most environmentally friendly way, this seems to be a lot better than the massive open mines that we currently have.

Muons: Scientists have 'strong evidence' for new force of nature - BBC News
 

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Looks like a good solution to obtaining the raw materials required to make electric batteries but some manufacturers have said they wont use any metals sourced from the deep ocean, I keep seeing Greenpeace and other Environmental organisations complaining about how these resources are obtained but they don't seem to provide an alternative, realistically the metals are going to come from somewhere so its about obtaining them in the most environmentally friendly way, this seems to be a lot better than the massive open mines that we currently have.

Muons: Scientists have 'strong evidence' for new force of nature - BBC News
Yeah I'm not so convinced. It sounds ok when you listen to the corporate pitch and that was my first reaction, but theres another view given by many marine scientists and ecologists.
The companies are in a hurry to exploit the resource of course, they aren't in such a hurry to thoroughly assess the true environmental costs. Caution is not profitable.

We know the square root of sod all about life in the deep oceans, though we do know that it is very long lived slow growing type stuff.

We don't know much about the potential impacts of mining but we can infer from the slow pace of growth there that if we did screw it up it may never recover, or if it does not for thousands of years.

It's one of the last areas of the planet that humans haven't completely overexploited and ruined, there's a real risk we will have lost or destroyed significant parts of whatever is down there before we've even figured out what's down there.
We also shouldn't forget that petrol refining is a major use for cobalt it isn't only about EVs. We can also recycle what's already been extracted and built into smart phone batteries and oil refinery catalysts.
 

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GOLF GTE PHEV
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If it's true that the nuggets are just lying on the sea floor as portrayed in the video, then harvesting them would be far less destructive than having to literally mine them.
 

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GOLF GTE PHEV
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But scraping the bottom for those nodules would have the same devastating effect as oyster fishing
Yes, but Oysters are still fished despite the damage but the fishing is managed to mitigate this as much as possible.
Scraping them up is far less damaging than devising subsea mining equipment (inevitably remote controlled and probably autonomous) to mine then.
 

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If it's true that the nuggets are just lying on the sea floor as portrayed in the video, then harvesting them would be far less destructive than having to literally mine them.
That is mostly accurate... however...
Over half the species that have been found down on the abyssal plains either live on these nodules or are dependant on them. And you can't replace the nodules your removing a key component of an ecosystem that has formed over a period of 10 million years.

A test done on an area of sea floor in 1989 is still being monitored periodically. Over half the disturbed species have not returned. Even microbial life disturbed by the test had not recovered to more than 75% of levels before the test after 26 undisturbed years since.

These are likely pretty fragile ecosystems, and we are talking about putting a prototype test machine that weighs 25 tons on tank tracks and driving around on it scooping things up off the bottom... there have been other tests showing sediment plumes that went kilometres.

Caution is quite appropriate we know very little about this environment but what we do know doesn't suggest this will be OK.

If human rights abuses and environmental damage are concerns for terrestrial mining, the correct solution is for the exploitative companies to stop that pollution and stop those human rights abuses and behave properly and ethically. The incorrect solution is to find an alternative environment for humans to screw up.
 

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Yes, but Oysters are still fished despite the damage but the fishing is managed to mitigate this as much as possible.
Scraping them up is far less damaging than devising subsea mining equipment (inevitably remote controlled and probably autonomous) to mine then.
The reason they're designing machines to vacuum them up off the floor is that simply scraping them up a la beam trawling was shown to be fairly disasterous environmentally, so they're hoping autonomous robotic tank sized vacuum cleaners will be less disasterous.
 

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GOLF GTE PHEV
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The reason they're designing machines to vacuum them up off the floor is that simply scraping them up a la beam trawling was shown to be fairly disasterous environmentally, so they're hoping autonomous robotic tank sized vacuum cleaners will be less disasterous.
Yes, that makes sense.
It's what roque states who care little for the planet do that should be of particular concern. They tend to ignore UN conventions if it suits them.
 

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The reason they're designing machines to vacuum them up off the floor is that simply scraping them up a la beam trawling was shown to be fairly disasterous environmentally, so they're hoping autonomous robotic tank sized vacuum cleaners will be less disasterous.
Or maybe they're hoping that like the bottom trawling fishing industry [which is absolutely an unmitigated disaster for the environment] what we don't see below the surface will be out of site out of mind. And then no one will care, much like bottom trawling no one has stopped that and no one seems able and appears few people notice or care.
 

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Am I the only one who noticed that the fact we drill for oil at sea was not mentioned?
Nope... it never is. Although I guess with oil and gas we're often f*cking up areas that are shallow and already quite f*cked up by fishing and run off, before Exxon finish the job.

Also never mentioned:- when we talk about how horrible cobalt mining is no article ever mentions that it's used as a catalyst to make petrol as well as for EVs.

Also never mentioned: when the government declares a marine protected area and that they will protect XX% of our seas.... they never mention that they still allow fishing and even trawling in these fabulous marine (un)protected areas, so while presented like a nature reserve it's largely meaningless.
 

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I keep seeing Greenpeace and other Environmental organisations complaining about how these resources are obtained but they don't seem to provide an alternative
Greenpeace often do suggest alternatives, but why should the onus be on them? It should be the potential developer who proves there is no alternative.

this seems to be a lot better than the massive open mines that we currently have.
Because you can see them? Out of sight out of mind?
That's a fairly typical public opinion I suppose.
 

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While they are down there, hoover up the microplastics. Far worse effect than CO2.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Greenpeace often do suggest alternatives, but why should the onus be on them? It should be the potential developer who proves there is no alternative.

Because you can see them? Out of sight out of mind?
That's a fairly typical public opinion I suppose.

No
 

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E-Niro 4
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The issue here is the nodules are again a limited resource, they take millions of years to form and ironically need life to form as they start similar to a Pearl and usually start around. Its short term gains again. While oyster dredging is devastating, the seabed will recover up there as they’re not that deep. Down in the abyss, things happen at The pace of millennia rather than decades so scraping that all up just doesn’t seem like a clever option to me. I’ve been diving for nearly 15 years and while it pisses me off how much we like to wreck stuff underwater, it also surprises me how quick the shallow stuff recovers given the time to heal. Once you get past about 40 metres though, it takes a looot longer as the light struggles to significantly penetrate beyond that. Personally I think we need to get better at recycling what we’ve already dug up. God knows we’re useless at recycling the electrical stuff we already have!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
They have lost their mining rig on the seabed, be interesting to see if they can recover it.

BBC News - Accident leaves deep sea mining machine stranded
 

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They have lost their mining rig on the seabed, be interesting to see if they can recover it.

BBC News - Accident leaves deep sea mining machine stranded
Yep so far several efforts to retrieve small lumps of metal from the sea floor seem to have ended up in reverse, leaving a very large lump of metal on the sea floor.
They seem quite optimistic they will get this one back.
 

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Yep so far several efforts to retrieve small lumps of metal from the sea floor seem to have ended up in reverse, leaving a very large lump of metal on the sea floor.
They seem quite optimistic they will get this one back.
Remember that one of the first attempts to retrieve small lumps of metal from the sea floor (The Glomar Explorer) was really a CIA-backed attempt to salvage a sunken USSR submarine (an attempt that failed btw).
 

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For me the fact that mining on land is polluting and has ethical challenges does not make mining on the sea floor the answer. The answer is for the miners to clean up their pollution, and mine or source material in a more ethical manner.

The mining of land is troubling let's do it somewhere else argument is the same one as this rubbish smells let's bury it in the ground or dump it in the sea etc. The problem is not solved just moved.
 

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Remember that one of the first attempts to retrieve small lumps of metal from the sea floor (The Glomar Explorer) was really a CIA-backed attempt to salvage a sunken USSR submarine (an attempt that failed btw).
Look on the bright side. As many of the small life forms down there seem to colonise these metallic nodules - maybe they will be able to colonise abandoned deep sea mining equipment and submarines to some extent.
 
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