Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Treasures of the deep

The BBC's long reads are almost always well worth the effort. Take this one, for instance. I came for the tale of an extraordinary, incredibly expensive CIA plot involving a sunken Soviet sub, a ship equipped with "ingenious devices straight from a Bond film" and an elaborate cover story that fooled the world. But I left with an insight into something I'd never previously heard of or considered: deep-sea mining.

What is clear is that it poses a serious quandary. On the one hand, the precious metals that mining the seabed could potentially produce would help to satisfy a demand that is steadily increasing due to the growing popularity of electric cars and the development of environmentally friendly technologies. But on the other, deep-sea mining would almost certainly involve churning up sediment and destroying sites of rich biodiversity about which barely anything is known. The former argument, you suspect, will win out, simply because there are evidently enormous profits to be made.

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