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Environmental Research for Assessing the Impacts of Mining Seafloor Massive Sulfides in Japan

[+] Author Affiliations
Tetsuhiko Toyohara, Nobuyuki Okamoto, Takahiro Kawai, Takayoshi Kodama, Hiroshi Shibasaki

Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation, Kawasaki, Kanagawa, Japan

Paper No. OMAE2011-49906, pp. 135-140; 6 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


In Japan, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) commenced a research and development (R&D) project on seafloor massive sulfide (SMS) deposits in Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the 2008 fiscal year. The project defines the plan for the commercialization of SMS within 10 years. Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) conducted the research under contract to METI. SMS deposits are widely distributed in the sea area surrounding Japan and are expected to become domestic metal resources. Since the SMS fields include hydrothermal ecosystems, which often host dense endemic animal communities, an adequate environmental impact assessment (EIA) and a conservation strategy to protect biodiversity are required for sustainable development. We outline an environmental framework that is intended to contribute to a global standard for assessing the environmental impacts of SMS exploration and mining.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME
Topics: Mining , Seabed



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