Do we know enough about the deep sea to mine it?
Eighteen years of company-collected data on deep sea ecosystems targeted for mining will add to our scant knowledge of the abyss.
The fate of fantastical deep sea creatures that live in unearthly habitats targeted for industrial mining might rest on a trove of scientific data collected by mining companies, but long kept secret.
For 18 years, that information has been locked in a black box at the International Seabed Authority (ISA). The United Nations organization headquartered in Kingston, Jamaica, is charged with promoting the mining of the ocean floor while, contradictorily, ensuring its protection.
That’s about to change. As the ISA meets this month to draft regulations to allow mining to begin, it is set to unveil a public database that contains all environmental data reported by the miners since 2001. For the first time, scientists will be able to