Deep-Sea Mining and the Potential Risk to the Lost City
Because of its unique natural beauty and scientific significance, the Lost City hydrothermal field is under consideration for special protection by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The Lost City is also included in a parcel of seafloor that the International Seabed Authority has approved for deep-sea mining exploration. In addition to the Lost City, many important hydrothermal ecosystems are potentially threatened by deep-sea mining. Hydrothermal ecosystems host exceptionally high numbers of unique animal species not found anywhere else in the world. Mining has not yet begun in these areas, and the regulations and procedures for managing deep-sea mining are still in development. This short video is a good introduction to the topic.
All stakeholders in the deep sea will benefit from responsible, informed, and sustainable management of deep-sea mining, and deep-sea scientists have a key role in the development of these management policies.
The IUCN has recently published a report on the importance of better regulation of mining activities:
- Press release
- The full report – featuring a photo of Lost City on the cover
- An older and shorter summary of the key issues
- “The high seas are being exploited. Exploration must keep pace” (March 2018) Jeffrey Marlow, Undark
- “How to save the high seas” (May 2018) Nature
- “Race to the bottom” (March 2018) The Economist
- Science briefs by the MIDAS Project
- “What is deep-seabed mining?” Deep Sea Conservation Coalition
- Deep-Ocean Stewardship Initiative