Following a detailed environmental baseline study in 2019, the MiningImpact project and German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) are planning to independently monitor the trial of a prototype manganese nodule collector vehicle by the Belgian company DEME-GSR. With the research cruise taking place in spring 2021, the event outlined in detail the set up and operation of the monitoring programme. The programme aims to analyse the dispersion and fate of the sediment plume which will be stirred up by the trial of the collector vehicle while also assessing biodiversity, the connectivity of species in this deep-sea environment and their resilience to impacts. This will be complemented by quantifying the effects of the disturbances on the habitat integrity and ecosystem functions
As part of the expedition the project partners will develop standardization procedures for monitoring and definitions for indicators of ecosystem health and a good environmental status and investigate potential mitigation measures. To conclude the project will explore how uncertainties in the knowledge of impacts can be incorporated into appropriate regulatory frameworks.
Presentations of the event are available below:
- Scientific Baseline Cruise MiningImpact SO268 (Matthias Haeckel, GEOMAR)
- Patania II System and Component Tests (Samantha Smith, DEME-GSR)
- Scientific Work Programme (Annemiek Vink, BGR)
Lively discussions addressed among other topics the potential cumulative effects of deep sea mining activities combined with other pressures on the deep-sea ecosystem and whether restoration actions with artificial nodules might speed up recolonisation and ecosystem recovery.
With 30 partners from nine European countries led by the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, the MiningImpact project aims to establish a baseline of environmental standards before potential future mining of manganese nodules in the deep sea commences.
MiningImpact is conducted independently of DEME-GSR activities. DEME-GSR is responsible for obtaining all necessary permissions for its operations and does not receive any funding from the MiningImpact project. The MiningImpact project does not receive any financial contributions from DEME-GSR. DEME-GSR is further responsible to set up a monitoring programme for its industrial component trial as required by the International Seabed Authority.
Funding for the project was provided under the framework of JPI Oceans by:
- Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO) and Flanders EWI Department, Belgium
- The Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), Germany
- Research Council of Norway (RCN), Norway
- The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), The Netherlands
- Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) and Direção-Geral de Política do Mar (DGPM), Portugal