Mining companies and governments will soon be allowed to extract minerals from the deep-ocean floor. These rare metals are vital for a more environmentally sustainable future on land, but at what cost to the health of the ocean?
Scientists fear that even before one of the last frontiers of exploration, the ocean deep, has been properly studied it will already have been exploited by commercial deep-sea mining looking for rare metal and minerals on the ocean floor, leaving its unique ecosystems badly damaged.
The video "Exploration for and exploitation of marine resources" is the fourth video out of a series of six videos. The video describes the legal framework for the exploration for and exploitation of marine resources, like for example mineral and genetic resources. It explains the different legal regimes, including the common heritage of mankind principle under the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Numerous companies are moving ahead rapidly with plans to mine copper, gold, and other minerals near hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor. But in an interview with Yale Environment 360, marine biologist Cindy Lee Van Dover warns that without environmental safeguards the unique ecosystems of deep-sea vents could be severely damaged.