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Глубоководная золотая лихорадка угрожает биоразнообразию морских глубинLast year the government of New Guinea issued a canadian company with the speaker called Nautilus Minerals twenty-year license for the extraction of minerals in the Sea Bismarck (new Guinea sea), in the field Solwara-1 ("Salt water-1"), located in 30 km from the coast. In this story there are only two unusual moment - the depth and breadth.

Top: white smokers throw liquid carbon dioxide. If their black brothers "will develop" full, to study the deep-sea biota can only be here. (Illustration Courtesy Of Wikimedia Commons.)

The Deposit is located at a depth of 1,600 meters, so the pressure there is expected 160 atmospheres, i.e. higher than on Venus. Temperature, by the way, in some places is as high as on the surface of the second planet of the Solar system:



"You're joking, " say any sensible person. - What kind of wise guy guessed lead extraction from the black smoker, even when Soviet AMC on Venus managed to hold out for a few hours?" Well, about the "wise men" could only make conjectures. It takes a swing but this had immigrants from countries that sent AMS Venus, all right.

In General, Nautilus Minerals are large Russian participant - Alisher Usmanov (by Gazmetall Holding). And no wonder: the data is completed in 2011 exploration, announced by the company, tells about the discovery of more than one million tons of polymetallic sulphide ore, which contains 7.2% of copper, 0.4% of zinc, 0,0023% silver and 0,0005% of gold. In other words, claimed as proven reserves of ore contains five tons of gold ($270 million) and other things like 23 tons of silver, 70 000+ tons of copper (over half a billion dollars), and so on, Finally the estimated reserves of the field area in 59 km2, of course, the above is believed to be reliable, although, of course, the absolute retrieve existing ore to wait too it is not necessary.

The most important thing: the character "folded slides" field allows the company to hope for the extraction of all this wealth for some three years of active development.

The structure of the Deposit typical environment of the black smoker: small "mountain", formed by the products of water mineralization smoker, and scattered around it at the bottom deposits of similar composition. Only slides there are many, very many, and they are considered as the most accessible part of the ore.

As will be prey? Representatives of the companies intend to pile up fire arms of three remote-controlled robots, most reminiscent of Titanic proportions of the machine. First they will collect solid ore material, then the pipe with water will upload it to 1 600 meters up on the surface of the floating centre of acceptance. With this ship excess water and waste rock will be pumped through another pipe back down that theoretically would allow to avoid contamination of surface water mineral particles. Then a special mineral trains rock will be transported to the ore mining and processing enterprise, where it will extract the metals.

So it seems. However, rodicovstvo next to black smokers children not walk. We know about them, not all, because they were only open in 1977, but what is known, is impressive. Highly mineralized water heated to 350-470 °C, heat stress in producing robots will be huge. If their resource would be lower than planned and AIDS will require frequent replacement, the company will give up profitability. However, the first ten tons of ore from the field of Nautilus Minerals has already extracted, and using standard, although slightly modified (in the manner of "combine") remote-controlled robot from those used in deep-sea oil and gas production. Although long-term operation not the same that the production of 10 tons, it's not so tragic: unlike the same Venus, the heat sink in the water much more efficiently than in a carbon dioxide atmosphere. In addition, most of the production will take place not in the active area of outlets of hot water, and among the already not spewing water residual cones. So technically it's still not a country crimson cloud.

Глубоководная золотая лихорадка угрожает биоразнообразию морских глубин


However, reach does mechanized claws imperialist international to black smokers - another question: in the case of a large-scale crisis and the collapse of stock prices for copper powder and shot will not be worth the candle. (Photo Nautilus Minerals.)

But here in full growth leads to another problem. Increased production will mean the death of many living things in the oases of biodiversity and marine life that was formed in black smokers. Clearly, cooling water, which is pumped back without metal, but with the suspension of lighter rocks, means a dramatic change in the chemical composition of water in the area of smokers. At the same time all organisms eat there from chemosynthesis or from eating bacteria-chemoattraction. But we have not started yet really not that understanding, even to know the local life.

It is not only a snail's the size of a tennis ball and annelids length 2.5 m, but purple octopus, preobrazenie, white crabs and skate. Remind: the population density of the seabed in the area of the black smokers from 10 to 100 thousand times higher than normal sea-bottom.

Cindy van Dover, Director of the Marine laboratory at Duke University (USA), said: "To understand the impact of production need a very specific type of research. We do not yet know how these ecosystems... We don't even know what we are missing". Of course, to wait for the payment of such studies from project planning to the active three years of production, it is not necessary. Exacerbates fears and the company, the protection of which in the media space of Papua New Guinea provides one prominent local official, who had repeatedly been under investigation ex-Minister of planning of this country.

Australian non-governmental environmental organization " Deep Sea Mining Campaign already accused exploration and trial production Nautilus patzivota sharks observed in recent years in the area. Remind: the invocation of sharks - the ancient local ritual, in which the Papuans singing, blast in the sinks, etc. in the name of sharks from the depths and catch them in a special device (see starting at 1:26):



Or from 0:50:



Of course, given the depth of field (obviously in basicola zone) and limited held there for underwater works, it's like the famous jokes fear harmful effects are not yet built towers of cellular communication. But whether there to laugh when "rig" still installs in 2014?

Prepared according to National Geographic.
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