Deep sea gold rush: Mining hydrothermal vents

Discussion in 'General Global Topics' started by Trajan, Jul 10, 2011.

  1. Trajan
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    Trajan conscientia mille testes

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    A somewhat new frontier.


    As noted below Russia and China are already applying for Mid Atlantic 'licenses'.

    Looking here - Mining Code | International Seabed Authority it appears they are contracts that recognize exclusive zones of exploration, if so I agree thats a good thing, I hope we are doing same.



    Deep sea gold rush: Mining hydrothermal vents
    As mining companies prepare to exploit the copper and gold in the seabed, we explore the fate of the unique ecosystems around tectonic boundaries

    SOME 1600 metres below the waves, a 150-tonne tank-like vehicle wields a robotic arm armed with rotating rock cutters. After it has ground down the volcanic chimneys that rise from the sea floor, other mining robots follow in its tracks. One chews up the levelled seabed, composed of ores of copper and gold; another acts like a giant vacuum cleaner, gathering the finely ground rubble so that it can be pumped to a ship at the surface.

    If all goes to plan, this is the scene that will play out in late 2013 at a site called Solwara 1, off the coast of Papua New Guinea (see interactive map). According to Nautilus Minerals of Vancouver, Canada, the company behind the scheme, the rich mineral deposits that form at marine hydrothermal vents - volcanic systems that spew scalding sulphurous water into the ocean - are the next frontier of mining. As well as exploiting other sites in Papua New Guinea's waters, the company intends to mine vents off Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu and New Zealand.

    The industry, if it takes off, is unlikely to be restricted to national exclusive economic zones - the regions that stretch up to 200 nautical miles (370 kilometres) seaward of each country's coast, over which it has rights to use the marine resources. Some of the biggest known hydrothermal vent fields, which cluster along tectonic plate boundaries, lie in international waters, and exploiting these fields is legally complicated. Next week, the Legal and Technical Commission of the International Seabed Authority (ISA), based in Kingston, Jamaica, will review applications from China and Russia for 15-year exploration contracts to begin prospecting at sites on the Southwest Indian ridge and the Mid-Atlantic ridge, respectively. The age of mining at hydrothermal vents, it seems, is dawning.

    Vent fields are attractive for mining because they contain high-grade metal ores. Deposits at Solwara 1, for instance, are thought to contain 6.8 per cent by weight of copper, compared with about 0.6 per cent typically found at mines on land. The deposits form when water that has percolated through rock beneath the sea floor, dissolving sulphur and metals, is ejected at temperatures of up to 350 °C into the frigid deep ocean. Black metal sulphides precipitate out, forming vent chimneys. As chimneys topple and reform, vent fields can develop into mounds of metal-rich ore.

    The prospect of mining these deposits alarms many scientists who study vents and their creatures. A variety of worms, molluscs and crustaceans inhabit the vents - including such oddities as 2-metre-long giant tube worms (Riftia pachyptila) and the yeti crab (Kiwa hirsuta), named for its "hairy" legs and claws. What makes these ecosystems remarkable is that the entire food web depends on microbes that get their energy by oxidising hydrogen sulphide emitted from the vents - some of which live as symbionts inside larger organisms. This chemosynthesis is fundamentally different from the photosynthesis that sustains most life on Earth.

    more at-
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21128193.700-deep-sea-gold-rush-mining-hydrothermal-vents.html





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    In related news-

    Rival powers scramble for seabed mineral rights in South Pacific
    By Patrick O’Connor
    29 June 2011

    Rival powers scramble for seabed mineral rights in South Pacific
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2011
  2. Ropey
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    Ropey To Life! Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    [​IMG]

    Deep-Sea Hydrothermal Vents: Protecting Hideways Beneath the Waves;

    I believe this is the future though there's going to be a lot of fingers in the pies.

    CATALYST: Deep sea mining | Papua New Guinea Mine Watch
     
  3. abriaje
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    abriaje Rookie

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    Thanks for sharing this wonderful things.
     
  4. Douger
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    Douger BANNED

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    How about this? Let's take every nuclear weapon on earth and drill a hole all the way to the core of the planet and fire them all at once. The Goldstein's will get all of their gold ( and silver, copper, iron and whatever else the greedy fucks want). Just blow it apart and be done with it.
     
  5. editec
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    editec Mr. Forgot-it-All

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    I wonder what the effect on the world's economy would be if they discovered a motherload of gold?

    Say for example they found a source of gold that doubled the known quantity of gold in the world.

    Obviously the price of gold (relative to everything else) would drop.

    What else might happen to commodities prices?

    Now imagine what would happen to our worldwide economy if the world's economies were ALSO on the gold standard rather than using their "fiat" money systems.

    Do ya'll think that would do to the world economy?

    Obviously the people mining gold would do well but how about everybody else?

    Who would gain and who would lose if the total amount of gold (in this gold standard world we're imagining) doubled?

    For instance, would debtors be better off or worse off?

    How about creditors?

    I ask these questions because, based on what some of you have posted about fiat money and the gold standard, many of you seem to be of the opinion that the GOLD STANDARD would give the world economic stability.

    Would it, under this scenario?
     
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  6. Trajan
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    Trajan conscientia mille testes

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    beats me...:lol:
     

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