Predicting the Impacts of Mining Deep Sea Polymetallic Nodules in the Pacific Ocean: A Review of Scientific Literature

This review, from the Deep Sea Mining campaign in collaboration with MiningWatch Canada, represents an analysis of literature addressing the predicted and potential impacts of mining deep sea nodules in the Southwest, Central, and Northeast Pacific. More than 250 scientific and other articles were examined to explore what is known — and what remains unknown — about the risks of nodule mining to Pacific Ocean habitats, species, ecosystems and the people who rely on them. The report details scientifically established risks, including those related to the lack of knowledge surrounding this emerging industry.

The accumulated scientific evidence indicates that the impacts of nodule mining in the Pacific Ocean would be extensive, severe, and last for generations, causing essentially irreversible damage. Expectations that nodule mining would generate social and economic gains for Pacific island economies are based on conjecture. The impacts of mining on communities and people’s health are uncertain and require rigorous independent studies.