A primer for the Environmental Impact Assessment of mining at seafloor massive sulfide deposits

Patrick Colman Collins*, Peter Croot, Jens Carlsson, Ana Colaço, Anthony Grehan, Kiseong Hyeong, Robert Kennedy, Christian Mohn, Samantha Smith, Hiroyuki Yamamoto, Ashley Rowden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Seafloor massive sulfides (SMS) contain commercially viable quantities of high grade ores, making them attractive prospect sites for marine mining. SMS deposits may also contain hydrothermal vent ecosystems populated by high conservation value vent-endemic species. Responsible environmental management of these resources is best achieved by the adoption of a precautionary approach. Part of this precautionary approach involves the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of exploration and exploitative activities at SMS deposits. The VentBase 2012 workshop provided a forum for stakeholders and scientists to discuss issues surrounding SMS exploration and exploitation. This forum recognised the requirement for a primer which would relate concepts underpinning EIA at SMS deposits. The purpose of this primer is to inform policy makers about EIA at SMS deposits in order to aid management decisions. The primer offers a basic introduction to SMS deposits and their associated ecology, and the basic requirements for EIA at SMS deposits; including initial data and information scoping, environmental survey, and ecological risk assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-209
Number of pages12
JournalMarine Policy
Early online date09 Apr 2013
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Deep-sea mining
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Hydrothermal vent
  • Seafloor massive sulfide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Law
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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