August 2018 · Volume 3, Issue 1                    Subscribe | Visit Website
Above: Group photo of delegates at the end of the meeting, courtesy ISA. 

In Summary: 24th Session of the ISA, Part II.

Last month, ISA delegates met in Jamaica for the 2nd part of the 24th Session of the International Seabed Authority to discuss the ISA’s strategic plan for the next 4 years and review the draft exploitation regulations. 

The unofficial theme of this meeting was urgency. With hard targets to begin production, equipment being built, tested, and shipped, and contractors preparing to submit their applications for the still-draft exploitation licenses, the need to get good policies in place felt more pressing than in years past. 

Read more: In Summary: Part II of the 24th Session of the ISA.

From the Editor: DSM Observer Relaunches!

Hello and welcome to the return of the DSM Observer!

After a five month hiatus, the DSM Observer is back! As the new Editor-in-chief, I intend to build on the excellent work of my predecessor by promoting new voices from all aspects of the deep-sea mining community, from environmental scientists to industry leaders to the ROV technicians who will be commanding some of the largest deep-diving machines ever built.

Read more: From the Editor: DSM Observer Relaunches.

Despite setbacks, Nautilus Minerals struggles towards production.

One of three seafloor production tools. Photo courtesy Nautilus Minerals.
The last half year was a tough one for Nautilus Minerals. In December, their ship contractor defaulted on payments to the production support vessel. This was followed by notification that the shipbuilding contract had been cancelled. And just last week, long-time CEO Mike Johnston resigned.

So what does all of this mean for the world's first SMS mine?

Read more: Despite setbacks, Nautilus Minerals struggles towards production.

Deep-sea mining from 2018 to 2024: what can we expect?

"At the close of the 24th Annual Session of the International Seabed Authority on 26th July 2018, the future of deep-sea mining appeared precarious."

We asked Dr. Diva Amon to talk with delegates about the future of deep-sea mining and what the next 6 years might bring. 
Dr. Diva Amon addresses delegates at the 24th Session. Photo Courtesy ISA. 

Read more: Deep-sea mining from 2018 to 2024: what can we expect?

New insights into diversity and resilience of species from polymetallic nodule fields.

Monoplcaophoran crawls across a ferromangenese crust. Image courtesy Sigwart et al. 2018. 
The last half year saw a slate of great studies highlighting the diversity, distribution, and resilience (or lack thereof) of the animals that live in polymetallic nodule fields. While there are many, many more, we have selected a cross-section of the more unusual and unexpected findings, including glass sponges, nematodes, and the elusive monoplacophoran.

Read more: Recent studies expand our understanding of the diversity, distribution, and resilience of species from polymetallic nodule fields.

Dr. Diva Amon earns the inaugural ISA Secretary-General’s Award for Excellence in Deep-sea Research.

President of the Assembly, Prof. Mariusz-Orion Jędrysek, Dr Diva Amon and ISA Secretary-General Michael Lodge.
Dr. Diva Amon, a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow at the UK Natural History Museum was presented with the Secretary-General’s Award for Excellence in Deep-sea Research at the 24th session of the Assembly of the Authority. Dr. Amon is a deep-sea biologists whose work spans from the deep waters around Trinidad and Tobago to the Mariana Trench. She contributes to multiple international research projects to enhance our understanding of abyssal ecosystems and the environmental impacts of human activities in the deep sea, particularly around nodule extraction in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone.

Read more: Dr. Diva Amon earns the inaugural ISA Secretary-General’s Award for Excellence in Deep-sea Research.

New Resources

Upcoming Events

Career Opportunities

  1. (POST-DOC) Ifremer offers co-funding for post-doctoral research positions to French or foreign scientists.
  2. (ISA - ENVIRONMENTAL) Director, Office of Environmental Management and Mineral Resources.
  3. (ISA - POLICY) Senior Policy Officer and Special Assistant to the Secretary-General
  4. (ISA - LEGAL) Senior Legal Officer
  5. (ISA - LEGAL) Legal Officer
  6. (ISA - COMMUNICATIONS) Communications and Information Technology Assistant.
  7. (TRAINING) Open for Applications: India Contractor Training Programme

Seabed Mining in the Republic of Nauru. 

The Republic of Nauru shared this video highlighting their plan for poly-metallic nodule mining with Deep Green Metals. 
Deep-sea Mining News in Brief
A worker examines polymetallic nodules as part of DeepGreen's ongoing evaluation of metals lying on the seabed in the Clipperton-Clarion Fracture Zone. (DeepGreen Metals Inc.)
Courtesy DeepGreen Metals Inc.

Can deep sea mining save the Earth without harming the oceans?

(CBC News) Deep-sea miners say they offer a clean, ethical way to harvest precious metals for a low-carbon future. Environmentalists aren’t convinced.

Read More: Murky waters.

Courtesy ISA

ISA Tackles Challenges Facing Women in Deep-sea Research

(ISA) Canada and the International Seabed Authority co-hosted a side event on Enhancing the Role of Women in Deep-Sea Marine Scientific Research through Focused Capacity-Building Initiatives to Achieve the Goals and Targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development during the 24th Assembly.

Read More: Canada and the ISA Address Challanges Facing Women in Deep-sea Marine Scientific Research.

Recent Press Headlines

Professor Mariusz-Orion Jędrysek is the new President of the ISA Assembly. 

Dr. Jędrysek is the Chief National Geologist as well as the Deputy Minister of Environment of Poland. He is a geologist specializing in environmental geochemistry and environmental protection. He served as ISA Chairman of the Council from 2006 to 2007 and again from 2016 to 2017.

Read more about him on his website:

Image courtesy Ocean Exploration Trust

Hydrothermal vents are used as nursery grounds for non-vent animals.

One of the most tantalizing emerging trends from the last half year are new studies showing connections between ecosystems  found on and surrounding hydrothermal vents and wider deep-sea communities. Much effort has been spent understanding how hydrothermal vent ecosystems are connected to each other but relatively few studies investigate how those communities are connected to rest of the deep sea. Though vent-dependent species often have highly restrictive habitat requirements, the influence of hydrothermal processes can be observed far beyond the perimeter of an active hydrothermal vent field.

Read more: Hydrothermal vents are used as nursery grounds for non-vent animals.

Visit DSM Observer
DSM Observer is a free online resource for deep-sea mining professionals, providing access to the latest news and information about the industry in a single place. Our monthly e-newsletter features updates on technology, business news, deep sea science, environmental issues, and policy.

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DSM Observer is published by Blackbeard Biologic: Science and Environmental Advisors, via a grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts to the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences. Editor-in-chief: Andrew Thaler
Copyright © 2018 Blackbeard Biologic: Science and Environmental Advisors, All rights reserved.

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