Helgoländer Meeresuntersuchungen

, Volume 33, Issue 1–4, pp 433–442 | Cite as

Assessment of environmental effects of deep ocean mining of manganese nodules

  • R. E. Burns
Pollution Due To Other Sources


Deep ocean mining for manganese nodules is under development by several multinational mining consortia. Initial estimates of probable environmental effects of this mining were made before any actual operations were conducted. Recent pilot mining tests near Hawaii have provided an opportunity to verify and modify the initial estimates. The two principal initial impacts of mining are in the near surface water associated with increased turbidity caused by mining discharge, and in a relatively limited zone at the sea floor associated with collector traverse. Examples are presented of estimates of reduction in primary production in the turbid plume as well as the contrasting effect of increased nutrients. Effects of the mining collector on benthic populations are considered. The limitations of extrapolation of results obtained during pilot mining tests are discussed.


Waste Water Surface Water Manganese Water Pollution Turbidity 
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Literature cited

  1. Bischoff, J. L. & Piper, D. Z. (Eds), 1979. Marine geology and oceanography of the Pacific manganese nodule province. Plenum Press, New York, 842 pp.Google Scholar
  2. Mustaffa, Z. & Amann, 1978. Ocean mining and protection of the marine environment in the Red Sea. Offshore Technology Conference, Houston, Texas, May, 1978. — OTC Paper3188.Google Scholar
  3. Ozturgut, E., Anderson, G. C., Burns, R. E., Lavelle, J. W. & Swift, S. A., 1978. Deep ocean mining of manganese nodules in the north Pacific: Pre-mining environmental conditions and anticipated mining effects. — NOAA Tech. MemorandumERL MESA-33, 1–133.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Biologische Anstalt Helgoland 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. E. Burns
    • 1
  1. 1.DOMES Project/NOAASeattleUSA

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