Deep seabed mining

In the coming decades it is also possible that international companies will want to undertake deep seabed mining in some parts of the Arctic Ocean. But this is a very difficult and demanding enterprise even in the best of circumstances. In order to extract minerals from the seabed, a ship has to keep a very steady position (in deep waters this has to be done without an anchor) while a recovery vehicle is lowered to the ocean floor by a specially constructed pipe. But the piping can sometimes snap or become seriously distorted by the strength of the ocean waves, while the recovery vehicle can become lost or stuck on the seabed. Not surprisingly, it has been compared with standing on top of a skyscraper while using a vacuum cleaner attached to a long hose to scoop up marbles from the streets far below. The high risk of encountering floating ice in these waters means that it is likely to be many years before any such mining operations are undertaken in much of the Arctic Ocean.

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