Almost everybody who has taken an interest in gold would be aware of the fact that most of the planet’s surface gold has been already mined and by ‘surface gold’ we refer to gold that is on land naturally. This situation has led mining companies to look for gold in other kinds of terrain, including on the ocean floor and a new ore mining process has been invented that enables miners to retrieve minerals from the ocean floor. This mining process involves drilling between 1500 meters to 3,000 meters under the floor of the ocean in order to extract the vast deposits of sulphite which contain not only silver, manganese, zinc and cobalt but also the holy grail of minerals which we all adore so much – gold! The operations typically utilize hydraulic pumps that suck up the sediment and once the ores are extracted, the tailings are returned to the seabed. These mining sites are located by expedition crews who go about the open ocean looking for mineral deposits and once a site has been identified a mini9ng station is set up in the location for mining operations.
Nevertheless the art of mining for precious metals under the ocean floor and especially for gold has been deemed as a venture that did not make economic sense up to this time; but looking at how things are and the growing demand for the noble metal stemming from countries such as India, China not to mention the collective demand from Europe and smaller Asian counties has breathed new life into the prospects of deep sea mining. As the world population increases, the demand for consumer goods containing gold increases as well, especially the sale of gold in the form of gold jewellery and electronic components that use gold for their conductive abilities, the demand for gold is unceasing. The fact that gold is also used for investment purposes in order to protect wealth from inflation and other economic environments that reduce the value of paper currency, the need for more gold is at an upward trend while the supply remains stagnant. The problem with deep sea mining is however the consequences of it from an environmental perspective which has drawn flack from environmental groups as the possibility of deep sea mining affecting the natural eco systems of the areas that a mined is not only a theory, but an actual fact.
The truth behind deep sea mining projects is that when certain layers under the ocean floor is disturbed the toxicity levels will definitely increase due to the disturbed benthic layers which are natural habitats for benthic organisms which are critical to the oceanic eco system and scientists are not really sure of how much the removal of these layers via mining operations would impact the natural eco systems in these areas which are as far as anybody is concerned ‘delicate’. Apart from disturbing or disrupting the eco system other concerns that have piled up include pollution from these mining platforms that could range from anything to spillage, to trash and residue from the machines that these miners use for mining and coupled with the fact that the ocean has already been degraded over the last few decades by over fishing, shipping, oil spills and trash which have altered the Ph levels of sea water in most places, most of these projects have come under serious fire and has even caused Greenpeace to move against these mining organisations from conducting such activities aggressively.
However according to other groups who are in favour of deep sea mining, they seem to think that deep sea mining is less harmful to the environment than land mining operations based on the theory or notion that the sea is more adept to neutralise itself.