Neptune Minerals & deep-sea mining in New Zealand

Steve O'Shea

TONMO Supporter
Staff member
Nov 19, 2002
Just starting a thread here to follow the exploits of Neptune Minerals in New Zealand. I envisage a public outcry soon enough (there's been nothing that I can see of conservation concern being expressed in the media, yet ....).

Watch this space.

Here's the latest from this dark and dastardly organisation, driven by profit. Deep-sea cancer!
just to clarify, are you opposed to all deep-sea mining, or just what this particular company is doing?

I'm always a bit wary of things like "Ban deep-sea mining" in that that seems to throw the baby out with the bathwater in terms of "support responsible deep-sea mining and fight irresponsible deep sea mining," although some activities (bottom trawling, whaling) seem to have no redeeming qualities at all, so I'm OK with advocating banning them completely... (even though whaling leads to the collection of squid beak data)
Definitely ban any and all forms of deep-sea mining in New Zealand, at present. There is no legislative requirement (a loophole in NZ legislation) for them to undertake any environmental impact assessment/appraisal prior to commencing their operations. Until the legislation catches up with activities (tourism, mining, fishing, spoil disposal, aquaculture ...) that affect the sea bed/water column outside an effectively, arbitrarily chosen 12 nautical mile distance from mainland NZ and offshore Islands, then no permit should be issued to anyone to do this sort of thing. In years to come we'll be ashamed of what we allow to occur today.

The area that Neptune is most interested in is around hydrothermal vents. They maintain that the impact will be localised. That's no comfort to the animals that are also localised and 100% dependant on the vent itself - the area of greatest interest to these prospectors. Localised impact/effect means complete annihilation of a unique community.

So, outright, indefinite ban on any such activity until we know something about the communities that occur there, the distribution of those communities over greater spatial scales, and we reach some management/conservation plan to ensure that adequate, sustainable and representative communities remain. Should China need copper then let China mine its own waters; should the French wish to test nuclear bombs let them test them on their own mainland; should a country wish to dispose of nuclear waste then let them do it in their own waters; should the Japanese wish to eat whale meat then let them slaughter whales in Japanese waters!

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