Sediment plumes resulting from deep sea mining

Sediment plumes resulting from deep sea mining.
Spearman, J.and Matthewson, T.
In: Deep Sea Mining Sumit 2013, 31 July-1 August 2013, London, UK. (Submitted) (2013)

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Official URL:http://www.deepsea-mining-summit.com/
Abstract:At present there is a keen interest in the recovery of valuable raw materials— polymetallic and phosphorous nodules, sulphurous deposits and metallic muds – from deep sea environments. These deposits can be found in depths ranging from several hundred to several thousand meters. The technology being developed to retrieve these deposits from the sea bed can vary but typically consists of a mining support vessel, a vertical transport system and a subsea mining tool. The subsea mining tool would vacuum or rake up the raw materials, grind them and mix them with sea water, creating a slurry of solids and seawater which is pumped to the surface by the vertical transport system . Processing is undertaken by the mining support vessel and the discarded sediment/water mixture is returned to the water column, often by a return pipe which may release the sediment water in the vicinity of the sea bed. The process of recovery of raw materials from the sea bed and the release of the discarded sediment/ore/water mixture from the processing stage will inevitably result in the formation of plumes of fine sediment and release of coarser materials to the bed. Depending on the nature of the deep sea environment and the extraction process, these have the potential to change the character of the waters immediately above the bed and the sea bed substrate. These physical changes in turn have the potential, as has been identified in shallower water environments, to adversely affect the benthic communities existing in this environment. This presentation will give an introduction to sediment plume processes and will highlight the main issues potentially resulting from deep sea mining activities. The presentation will be based upon our research at the forefront of describing and predicting the behaviour of sediment plumes from seabed disturbance such as dredging.
Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Other)
Subjects:Maritime > General
Maritime > Dredging and disposal
ID Code:651
Deposited On:18 Jun 2013 14:27
Last Modified:21 Aug 2014 08:12

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