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Deep Sea Mining Poses “Irreversible Risks” to Nature and Climate

The benefits of deep sea mining are outweighed by the exorbitant cost that renders nature restoration efforts unaffordable, warns a new report by Planet Tracker. ‘The Sky High Cost of Deep Sea Mining’ claims attempts to repair the damage inflicted upon biodiversity by deep sea mining could be unsuccessful and financially unfeasible. The report highlights that replacing polymetallic nodules, vital for marine life, with artificial clay nodules to restore ecosystems would amount to US$5.5-US$5.7 million per square kilometre, surpassing projected revenues of US$4.4 million. If no moratorium is enforced, an area the size of Mongolia, encompassing 1.5 million square kilometres, could be subjected to mining in international waters. Planet Tracker further asserts that the Environmental Compensation Fund established by the International Seabed Authority, the UN-backed regulator, lacks sufficient capitalisation to shoulder the restoration costs. François Mosnier, Head of the Oceans programme at Planet Tracker, raised serious concerns about the irreversible risks posed by deep sea mining. “There are many false solutions to the climate crisis, but deep sea mining is one that can still be stopped,” he said. “More than 700 scientists have warned us that if it were to go ahead, it could pose irreversible risks to nature and climate on multi-generational timescales. Crucially, this environmental damage would add on to the harm caused by terrestrial mining, and we found that its scale would be truly mind-boggling.”

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