A worldwide undersea gold rush is coming

An undersea gold rush could be coming soon with the rising cost of minerals and advancements in technology opening the seafloor to mining – environmental concerns not withstanding.

The United Nations International Seabed Authority (ISA) last week published a study on what frameworks would be necessary to ensure that mining is done responsibly. Commercial mining operations could begin as soon as 2016, but ISA acknowledged that there will be “inevitable environmental damage” and identified a “Catch-22″ where firms have not demonstrated appropriate competency and skills but must first start mining to gain them.

Mining would take place in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. ISA licensees include well-known industrial giants including Lockheed Martin, BBC News’s science editor David Shukman wrote in his report on the study. The ISA has identified vast undersea mineral deposits and will ensure that developing nations will receive a share of the profits from mining operations under its auspices.

This undersea gold rush is prompting the ISA to rapidly prepare a regulatory regime. “Doing so requires the development of a strategic framework that allows the Authority to have in place the necessary mandates, organizational capacities (technical and administrative), policies and regulations (implementing rules and regulations) and capacities (fiscal, manpower and specialties,” the ISA noted in its executive summary.

Full article: A worldwide undersea gold rush is coming (Smart Planet)

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