Ecological risk assessment for deep-sea mining

Washburn, T., Turner, P., Durden, J., Jones, D., Weaver, P. and Dover, C. (2019) Ecological risk assessment for deep-sea mining. Ocean & Costal Management. 176, 24-39 

Fundamental questions about how deep-seabed mining could affect deep-sea ecology remain unanswered and research is ongoing. Given the absence of data, this paper conducts a survey to gauge what a pool of scientists perceive to be the most pressing ecological risks associated with deep-seabed mining. While this does give some insight, it is clear that, currently, even expert opinions demonstrate uncertainty and differences.

The paper argues that a shift from reliance on low-certainty expert opinion to developing data-rich scientific assessments about how deep-sea mining could impact on the seabed is required. With such data, effective precaution and mitigations would be planned and deployed well before commercial deep-sea mining began, and strategies to adapt and develop regulations and guidelines would be properly informed and therefore effective.

The full paper can be found here.