In 2021 Scientists of the JPI Oceans project “MiningImpact 2” embarked on a 6-week expedition to the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone (CCZ) in the Pacific. Their goal: to carry out the independent scientific monitoring of a pre-prototype manganese nodule collector robot which was tested in parallel from a second vessel by the Belgian company Global Sea Mineral Resources (GSR).
Their place of study, the CCZ is an area of five million square kilometers, where manganese nodules are highly abundant on the seafloor at water depths of more than 4,000 meters. Concentrated in these nodules are metals of economic interest for high-tech products used for energy transformation, mobility and telecommunication, such as copper, cobalt, and nickel. This common area between Mexico and Hawaii is managed by the International Seabed Authority (ISA), under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which has been joined by 167 countries and the European Union. The ISA is currently working on the exploitation regulations of the "Mining Code", which will form the legal framework for future deep-sea mining activities, and is being developed through an iterative process with several stakeholder consultations
As explained by the project coordinator Dr. Matthias Haeckel from GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel the expedition offered an unique opportunity for to collect, for the first time, quantitative scientific evidence on the environmental consequences of nodule extraction in a more realistic scenario than was previously possible.
Following the MiningImpact 2 scientists on their expedition, the documentary shows the ongoing work to analyse and assess the impact of potential deep-sea mining activities.The documentary is available in German and French, with subtitles in English, Spanish, Polish and Italian.