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Scheme to mine the abyss gets sea trial

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Science  15 Mar 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6432, pp. 1129-1130
DOI: 10.1126/science.363.6432.1129

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A Belgian company, Global Sea Mineral Resources, is set to test a bus-size machine designed to vacuum up metallic nodules that sit on the dark abyssal sea floor in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone, a nodule-rich area between Mexico and Hawaii. During the short trial, a team of independent scientists will deploy more than 60 sensors to monitor the collector's environmental impact. For decades, entrepreneurs have eyed the deep sea for its wealth of metals, but only in the next few years will the United Nations finalize rules for exploiting these resources in international waters. The monitoring campaign, which is particularly focused on the sediment plume the collector creates, will play a vital role informing these regulations.