Environmentalists are afraid of severe damage to the environment as a result of Manganese nodule’
” Manganese nodule ” has been lying underwater in the Sea for millions of years. This stone contains precious metals like manganese and cobalt. So, one party thinks this stone is necessary for energy transition or energy source.
However, as a result of this, environmentalists are afraid of severe damage to the environment. Many animals live about five thousand meters deep in the ocean. The habitat of many of them is the rock called Manganese nodule. These rocks have been home to various animals for millions of years.
Scientists at Germany’s Geomar Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research examined a site used by a mining company in Belgium to find almost nothing left.
There is no Manganese Nodule nor any trace of animals. Marine biochemist Matthias Haeckel said, “Organisms such as corals and sponges need manganese Nodule stone to live.
These animals, in turn, provide accommodation for marine animals such as brittle stars and copepods. As a result, we may lose them for millions of years.”
He also said, “These excavations are done on a huge scale. An area of several hundred square kilometers is excavated annually. Because of that, these animals can be destroyed for many generations.
Industry stakeholders claim that this stone is necessary for energy transition. It contains three precious metals besides manganese – cobalt, nickel, and copper. Three to five times more than what is on land.”
Francisca Salman, an official of the environmental organization Greenpeace, said, “Deep Sea mining will not become an alternative to mining. But what will happen is that we will start destroying the ocean and the environment.”
Manganese leaching into the ocean is at risk. In the meantime, many countries have entered the mining competition in the ‘Clarion Clipperton Zone’ area. The International Seabed Authority has already permitted drilling.
“According to maritime law, deep sea mining is allowed,” said Sebastian Unger, an official at Germany’s environment ministry.
But in that case, there will be no severe damage to the marine environment – such a condition has to be accepted. However, the research we have been doing for many years shows that it cannot rule out the fear of such damage.
That’s why some countries like Germany and France want to suspend mining plans until the researchers get the green signal. They want to wait for a few generations for this.
The deep Sea—intact ecosystems or the next environmental disaster—depends on the International Seabed Authority’s future. Surveys by various organizations, such as the German Mineral Resources Agency, have shown that demand for the metal will increase manifold in the coming decades.
However, some metals can be recycled or replaced altogether. Francesca Salman of Greenpeace said, “Technology has advanced so much that we now make cobalt-free batteries. So, there is no need for deep sea drilling for energy transition.”