An Environmental Impact Assessment Of Seafloor Mineral Extraction

Smith, Samantha
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 2
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2008
Nautilus is completing the world's first environmental impact assessment (EIA) of seafloor mineral extraction and Nautilus has gained extensive experience conducting environmental studies in subsea environments. Nautilus is currently working on the Solwara 1 Project in the Bismarck Sea, Papua New Guinea, where high grade seafloor massive sulfide deposits lie at ~1600 m water depth. Conducting an EIA in the deep sea presents some interesting and exciting challenges. Seafloor studies commenced in December 2005 using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) fitted out with highly specialized scientific equipment to conduct water quality, sediment, biological and oceanographic studies. During 2007 and 2008, Nautilus launched two two 30-day ROV programs dedicated to environmental baseline studies and during this campaign, over 550 biological, sediment and water samples were collected and over 20,000 seafloor observations were logged. On board specialists included an international team of experts in the field of deep sea marine science. Collaboration between industry and scientific research institutions allows data to be collected for the EIA but also provides an extraordinary opportunity for researchers to access sites that might otherwise remain unobtainable to science. This presentation will review the studies conducted as part of this exciting project. Keywords: Seafloor Massive Sulfides, Environmental Impact Assessment
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