UK government warned deep sea mining could cause ‘potential extinction of unique species’, documents reveal
The UK’s joint project with American military firm Lockheed Martin is the largest in the world but poses risks to deep sea ecosystems
Deep sea mining could lead to “the potential extinction of unique species which form the first rung of the food chain,” according to a report commissioned by an arm of the British government.
‘The Subsea Mining Capability Statement’ – obtained by Unearthed using freedom of information rules – was produced by the National Subsea Research Initiative in 2017 and circulated amongst the UK government’s deep sea mining working group at key stakeholder meetings.
The British government has licenses for exploratory mining of polymetallic nodules in the Pacific Ocean as part of a joint venture with UK Seabed Resources, a subsidiary of US defence firm Lockheed Martin.
The statement’s environmental warnings echo those heard from the scientific community, many of whom fed into the UK parliament’s ‘sustainable seas’ inquiry which concludeddeep sea mining “would have catastrophic impacts on the seafloor site and its inhabitants.”