Deep sea mining operations could cause immense destruction to ocean ecosystems and the people who depend on them. This is probably the reason that the California-based mining firm Nautilus Minerals chose Papua New Guinea for a hazardous experiment into deep sea gold mining.
Papua New Guinea can’t afford to monitor or regulate this. Basically, Nautilus is free to do what it likes with little regard for the consequences. Local people whose livelihoods are at risk and environmentalists have objected furiously to the plans.
Nautilus intends to extract gold and copper a mile below the surface, beginning with the destruction of hydrothermal vents. The full environmental impact of these operations is unknown, but even the best case scenario would involve the wholesale destruction of unique ecosystems.
Will we ever stop? If so, at what price?