Deep-sea mining could cause $500bn in environmental damage – report

Deep-sea mining could cause up to 25-times more damage to the world’s biodiversity than land-based mining, resulting in $500bn of lost value, according to a new study published on Thursday.

Many of the critical minerals needed in the production of electric vehicles (EV) can be found under the ocean floor, including cobalt, nickel, copper and manganese. Reserves are estimated to be worth somewhere between $8trn and $16trn.

The report, entitled How to Lose Half a Trillion and authored by non-profit Planet Tracker, said extracting metals from the seabed could cost the mining industry $30bn–132bn in value destruction.

François Mosnier, lead author of the report, said: “Before factoring in any environmental impacts, the economics already appear uncompelling. High operating expenditures mean that returns will be negative for investors in deep-sea mining, which will also destroy value in other sectors such as terrestrial mining and fishing.”

It is not often that financial markets can claim a major success in nature conservation while avoiding significant destruction to corporate value and natural capital. Preventing deep-sea mining would be such an opportunity,” he added