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Environmental considerations for impact and preservation reference zones for deep-sea polymetallic nodule mining

Environmental considerations for impact and preservation reference zones for deep-sea polymetallic nodule mining
Environmental considerations for impact and preservation reference zones for deep-sea polymetallic nodule mining

Development of guidance for environmental management of the deep-sea mining industry is important as contractors plan to move from exploration to exploitation activities. Two priorities for environmental management are monitoring and mitigating the impacts and effects of activities. International regulation of deep-sea mining activities stipulates the creation of two types of zones for local monitoring within a claim, impact reference zones (IRZ) and preservation reference zones (PRZ). The approach used for allocating and assessing these zones will affect what impacts can be measured, and hence taken into account and managed. This paper recommends key considerations for establishing these reference zones for polymetallic nodule mining. We recommend that zones should be suitably large (Recommendation 1) and have sufficient separation (R2) to allow for repeat monitoring of representative impacted and control sites. Zones should be objectively defined following best-practice and statistically robust approaches (R3). This will include the designation of multiple PRZ and IRZ (R4) for each claim. PRZs should be representative of the mined area, and thus should contain high -quality resource (R5) but PRZs in other habitats could also be valuable (R6). Sediment plumes will influence design of PRZ and may need additional IRZ to monitor their effects (R7), which may extend beyond the boundaries of a claim (R8). The impacts of other expected changes should be taken into account (R9). Sharing PRZ design, placement, and monitoring could be considered amongst adjacent claims (R10). Monitoring should be independently verified to enhance public trust and stakeholder support (R11).

Anthropogenic impact, Environmental management, Monitoring, Resource extraction, Seafloor minerals, Spatial management
0308-597X
Jones, Daniel O.B.
44fc07b3-5fb7-4bf5-9cec-78c78022613a
Ardron, Jeff A.
f7857e02-7518-46ad-ac38-a61df83e836f
Colaço, Ana
624450ca-8296-48b0-806a-05c210cd165e
Durden, Jennifer M.
d7101246-b76b-44bc-8956-8ca4ae62ae1f
Jones, Daniel O.B.
44fc07b3-5fb7-4bf5-9cec-78c78022613a
Ardron, Jeff A.
f7857e02-7518-46ad-ac38-a61df83e836f
Colaço, Ana
624450ca-8296-48b0-806a-05c210cd165e
Durden, Jennifer M.
d7101246-b76b-44bc-8956-8ca4ae62ae1f

Jones, Daniel O.B., Ardron, Jeff A., Colaço, Ana and Durden, Jennifer M. (2018) Environmental considerations for impact and preservation reference zones for deep-sea polymetallic nodule mining. Marine Policy. (doi:10.1016/j.marpol.2018.10.025).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Development of guidance for environmental management of the deep-sea mining industry is important as contractors plan to move from exploration to exploitation activities. Two priorities for environmental management are monitoring and mitigating the impacts and effects of activities. International regulation of deep-sea mining activities stipulates the creation of two types of zones for local monitoring within a claim, impact reference zones (IRZ) and preservation reference zones (PRZ). The approach used for allocating and assessing these zones will affect what impacts can be measured, and hence taken into account and managed. This paper recommends key considerations for establishing these reference zones for polymetallic nodule mining. We recommend that zones should be suitably large (Recommendation 1) and have sufficient separation (R2) to allow for repeat monitoring of representative impacted and control sites. Zones should be objectively defined following best-practice and statistically robust approaches (R3). This will include the designation of multiple PRZ and IRZ (R4) for each claim. PRZs should be representative of the mined area, and thus should contain high -quality resource (R5) but PRZs in other habitats could also be valuable (R6). Sediment plumes will influence design of PRZ and may need additional IRZ to monitor their effects (R7), which may extend beyond the boundaries of a claim (R8). The impacts of other expected changes should be taken into account (R9). Sharing PRZ design, placement, and monitoring could be considered amongst adjacent claims (R10). Monitoring should be independently verified to enhance public trust and stakeholder support (R11).

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Accepted/In Press date: 8 October 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 29 October 2018
Keywords: Anthropogenic impact, Environmental management, Monitoring, Resource extraction, Seafloor minerals, Spatial management

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 425987
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/425987
ISSN: 0308-597X
PURE UUID: 773fe266-e0d0-4994-9a22-41eb555ac303

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Date deposited: 09 Nov 2018 17:30
Last modified: 27 Apr 2022 08:28

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Contributors

Author: Daniel O.B. Jones
Author: Jeff A. Ardron
Author: Ana Colaço
Author: Jennifer M. Durden

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