Reality of Seabed Mining

By October 11, 2016 News No Comments

In 2012 and 2014, the Department of Mineral Resources granted three prospecting rights for marine phosphate to private companies.

These rights extend over a considerable portion of South Africa’s marine environment, together covering more than 150 000 km2, approximately 10% of our exclusive economic zone. Since prospecting rights are being granted there is every indication that marine mining will become a reality. The type of technology employed for seabed mining, Trailing Suction Hopper-Dredge (TSHD) has not been tested anywhere else in the world and is comparable to strip mining the sea floor at an alarming rate. This process creates a giant plume of toxic sediment that buries and smothers marine ecosystems.

Of critical concern, the socio-economic impacts of seabed mining have not been assessed. Finally, our current legal and governance framework is inadequate for dealing with bulk marine sediment mining. In response to these concerns, a group of organisations formed a coalition.

The Safeguard our Seabed main objective of the coalition is to pursue a moratorium, or ban, on bulk marine sediment mining in South Africa.