Deep-sea mining could wreck the last unexplored ecosystem on Earth

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    Deep-sea mining could wreck the last unexplored ecosystem on Earth

    As mining firms begin tests to pick up metal ores from the Pacific seabed, we need rules to protect this unusual ecosystem, says Olive Heffernan

    sea floor in the Clarion Clipperton Zone

    Rare minerals can be found in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone

    Geomar

    By Olive Heffernan

    Some call it the final frontier. Having spent much of human history scouring – and scarring – Earth’s surface to extract precious mineral resources, we are now turning to the most remote, and least known, part of our planet in search of more: the deep sea.

    In February, the Belgian dredging company DEME-GSR will send a prototype ore collector to the Pacific Ocean’s Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ), an area lying between Hawaii and Mexico. This fault line has one of the world’s largest untapped collections of rare minerals and …

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