A moral problem.

British scientists have discovered in an underwater mountain some rare minerals, among which are tellurium, a mineral that has concentrations 50,000 higher than on land. This mineral is used mainly in some solar panels. Other elements called rare earth were found and these are used in wind turbines and electronics. The moral problem is this; should we mine this area even if it seriously contaminates the sea floor? Is it better to do this rather than do it on land where everyone can see the damage this type of mining does?

Deep-sea mining is perhaps an idea whose time has come, but so far there is no rush to begin. If it is begun the damage to marine environment could be severe. There is a cost to making green energies and this is one of them. Effectively this is a trade-off, doing some damage now and hoping to reduce overall the damage to the planet long term.

Mining on the seabed could extract more riches in a smaller area with no impact on people but it would kill marine life as well create devastation on a wider scale. Plumes of dust could scatter for long distances and smother life where it settles.

Studies on seabed mining seem to show that marine creatures could recover within a year but over longer periods of time few would return to levels that were before mining occurred.

It is clear that we know very little about what lies on the seabed and how the various marine creatures could be affected by deep-sea mining. More studies are required but in the end we might have to bite the bullet simply because of a lack of alternatives.


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