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Approaches for Environmental Impact Assessment of Seafloor Massive Sulfide Mining

[+] Author Affiliations
Tetsuo Yamazaki

Osaka Prefecture University, Sakai, Japan

Paper No. OMAE2011-49453, pp. 45-51; 7 pages
  • ASME 2011 30th International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering
  • Volume 5: Ocean Space Utilization; Ocean Renewable Energy
  • Rotterdam, The Netherlands, June 19–24, 2011
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4437-3
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


Seafloor Massive Sulfides (SMS) including Au, Ag, Cu, Zn, and Pb exist in exclusive economic zones (EEZ) of the Pacific island countries. Some of SMS are interested in as immediate targets for commercial mining ventures. Little information, however, is available for the mining impacts on marine ecosystem, because no actual deep-sea mining operation is there in the world. In case of SMS, in addition, some of them accompany active hydrothermal vents beside the possible mining sites. High primary biomass production and dense ecosystem population on seafloor are found around the vent system. On the basis of physical, chemical, and biological baseline survey data, Nautilus Minerals submitted an environmental impact statement for the Solwara 1 Project to Papua New Guinea (PNG) Government. The other approach is the environmental impact assessment program for SMS mining driven by Japan. In contrast with PNG, the feature of Japan’s program is the step-by-step process for the assessment. The importance of the step-by-step process is introduced in detail.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME
Topics: Mining , Seabed



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