The terrifying robots set to mine the seabed: Machines to search for gold and other precious metals on the ocean floor

The terrifying robots set to mine the seabed: Machines to search for gold and other precious metals on the ocean floor

The terrifying robots set to mine the seabed: Machines to search for gold and other precious metals on the ocean floor

Terrifying : While many firms are looking to the moon for mining opportunities, one Australian firm believes there could be precious metals a lot nearer to home.

Deep-sea robots will be sent to mine mineral deposits in the deep ocean in 2019 in a test for a controversial new scheme.

As land-based mineral stores are becoming depleted, the ocean floor is becoming a more attractive mining prospect, containing gold, copper and other precious metal deposits used to make electronics, renewable energy tools and even medical imaging machines.

But deep-sea excavation may have a negative impact on deep ocean marine life, as robot mining may destroy their homes and disturb these sensitive species.

The Canadian mining company Nautilus Minerals plans to send robots (pictured) to mine deposits rich in copper and gold in the waters of Papua New Guinea in 2019 

The Canadian mining company Nautilus Minerals plans to send robots (pictured) to mine deposits rich in copper and gold in the waters of Papua New Guinea in 2019

The Canadian mining company Nautilus Minerals plans to send robots to mine deposits rich in copper and gold in the waters of Papua New Guinea.

But it seems that other countries will be catching up soon – The International Seabed Authority, which regulates deep-sea mining across the world, has granted 25 countries contracts to search for minerals.

‘There’s a gold rush mentality that has emerged,’ said Professor Mark Hannington, a geologist at GEOMAR-Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research in Germany.

He and other researchers poke about mining the seafloor at the American Academy for the Advancement of Sciences 2017 annual meeting in Boston.

Since nobody has mined the deep seafloor as yet, no one knows what effect it will have and how it could disturb deep-sea species.

While deep-sea mining hasn’t begun as yet, shallow water mining for diamonds has been taking place for a long time.

Since nobody has mined the deep seafloor as yet, no one knows what effect it will have and how it could disturb deep-sea species. While deep-sea mining hasn't begun as yet, shallow water mining for diamonds has been taking place for a long time

Since nobody has mined the deep seafloor as yet, no one knows what effect it will have and how it could disturb deep-sea species. While deep-sea mining hasn’t begun as yet, shallow water mining for diamonds has been taking place for a long time

According to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, the diamond jeweler de Beers obtains a significant portion of its diamond production from the continental shelf of Southern Africa.

But now, we may not be able to satisfy the demand for rare materials unless we mine the seabed.

‘We now have an increasing demand for metals that are becoming more expensive to acquire on land,’ Professor Hannington said.

Currently, land-based miners are having to mine deeper and deeper into the earth for lower grade mineral deposits, said Dr James Hein, a geologist with the United States Geological Survey in a report by NBC News.

Provided by : http://www.dailymail.co.uk

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