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A Review of Some Environmental Issues Affecting Marine Mining

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... Regardless of recent concern over the impacts of seabed mining (Boschen et al., 2013;Miller et al., 2018), current knowledge of the pressures from seabed exploitation on ecosystems has not been synthesized, and studies addressing the adverse effects rarely offer empirical evidence of the overall impacts. Rather, previous reviews on the impacts of marine mining have focused on the loss of biodiversity and recovery of benthic fauna (Ellis, 2001;Jones et al., 2017) or on specific ecosystems, such as hydrothermal vents (Boschen et al., 2013;Van Dover, 2014) or polymetallic nodule fields (Vanreusel et al., 2016). While different scenarios of the potential impacts have been envisaged (Van Dover, 2010;Ramirez-Llodra et al., 2011), links between the findings of empirical studies and specific pressures from mining have not been established. ...
... Dispersal is dependent on the stratification of the water column and the depth of the surface mixing layer. Sharp pycnoclines reduce vertical mixing and promote the horizontal dispersion of suspended particulate matter (Ellis, 2001). The spatial extent of the impacts is substantially smaller if no screening is performed (Hitchcock and Bell, 2004), depending, however, on the current regime of the extraction area. ...
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Mineral extraction from the seabed has experienced a recent surge of interest from both the mining industry and marine scientists. While improved methods of geological investigation have enabled the mapping of new seafloor mineral reserves, the ecological impacts of mining in both the deep sea and the shallow seabed are poorly known. This paper presents a synthesis of the empirical evidence from experimental seabed mining and parallel industries to infer the effects of seabed mineral extraction on marine ecosystems, focusing on polymetallic no-dules and ferromanganese concretions. We use a problem-structuring framework to evaluate causal relationships between pressures caused by nodule extraction and the associated changes in marine ecosystems. To ensure that the rationale behind impact assessments is clear, we propose that future impact assessments use pressure-specific expert elicitation. We further discuss integrating ecosystem services in the impact assessments and the implications of current methods for environmental risk assessments.
... It is necessary to treat the tailings slurry using flocculation sedimentation technology. The promotion of MPT flocculation sedimentation technology will not only aid in environmental protection but also enable concentrated tailings to be used for mine backfilling, which has significant economic benefits [6][7][8]. ...
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Abandoned mineral management has become an important global issue, and the collection, recycling, and disposal of mineral processing tailings (MPT) is critical in both mining engineering and environmental protection. In this study, flocculation sedimentation experiments and slurry rheological tests were carried out with unclassified tailings, and the flocculation sedimentation behaviour of the tailings under different conditions was investigated. The experimental results showed the followings: (1) Under close sedimentation effect conditions, different flocculants showed different effects on the fluidity of the slurry underflow, which was used as an important basis for optimization of the flocculation effect. (2) A tailings solid mass concentration of 40% and a flocculant dosage of 25 g/t were obtained as preferable sedimentation conditions. (3) Based on a microparticle agglomeration characteristics tests at the initial stage of flocculation, a flocculation concentration kinetic model was established that conformed to the fractal characteristics of the particles, which improved the applicability and accuracy of the concentration kinetic equation and the characteristic variables. In this study, an objective method for determining the parameters of full tailings flocculation sedimentation was realized. The results of an industrial trial operation also verified the reliability of the preferred parameters, which provided an effective basis for refined control of an efficient tailings recycling process.
... Experimental studies on the effects of CO 2 on benthic organisms have been equivocal (Bernhard et al. 2009;Ricketts et al. 2009;Sedlack et al. 2009). The disposal of mine waste from land into the deep sea, in some cases down canyon systems, has received surprisingly little study (Ellis 2001), although in shallow water the activity has significant smothering and trace metal effects on fauna. ...
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