MiningImpact | JPI OCEANS

MiningImpact

Project Facts
Project period: January 2015 - December 2017
Funding: € 13,200,000
Strategic area:
  • Exploring the Deep-Sea
More Information
Project coordinator:

Dr. Matthias Haeckel
GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
Phone: +49-431-600-2123
Email: mhaeckel(at)geomar.de

Secretariat contact:

John Hanus
E-mail: hanus@deutsche-meeresforschung.de
Tel. +32 (0) 2 733 89 48

Project website: click here to visit

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About

The JPI Oceans project ‘MiningImpact’ aims at assessing the long-term impacts of polymetallic nodule mining on the deep-sea environment. Core of the project are three marine research campaigns conducted in 2015 on the RV Sonne visiting several license areas and two Areas of Particular Environmental Interest (APEIs) in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ) as well as the DISCOL benthic impact experiment in the Peru Basin.  

Objectives

Jointly analyse the long-term ecological consequences of deep-sea polymetallic nodule mining to provide the knowledge base and inform the development of the international regulation regime of deep sea mining activities by: 
  • Predicting the ecological, biogeochemical and hydrodynamic consequences of a mining impact. 
  • Testing a range of modern rapid assessment methods and monitoring techniques for defining the ecosystem status. 
  • Communicating the results to stakeholders and policymakers. 
  • Conducting a comparative baseline study across different deep-sea environments (e.g. trophic states and seamounts)

Impact

The main research questions addressed by ‘MiningImpact’ are:
  • How did the deep-sea ecosystem (species biodiversity, community structure, biogeochemical functioning) in various disturbed areas in the CCZ and DISCOL evolve several decades after the impact? 
  • Can APEIs and seamounts fulfill their anticipated role as conservation areas for nodule-associated species? 
  • How large is the expected spatial and temporal footprint of deep-sea mining operations? 
  • What is the long-range connectivity of species in the CCZ and how is it affected by mining?

 

The first findings of the project (as of July 2016) were:
  • Nodule ecosystems consist of a highly diverse fauna of sessile and mobile species 
  • Faunal communities show high variability on small spatial scales • Benthic fauna differs widely between seamounts and nodule habitats 
  • Disturbance impacts on nodule ecosystems last for many decades and include all ecosystem compartments and functions 
  • Nodule mining leads to a persistent reduction in biogeochemical remineralization processes and production potentials of seafloor communities
  • Polymetallic nodules are required to preserve abyssal biodiversity.
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