Sustainability of Applied Technologies
We have to admit that the activities of the mankind have been a serious threat to the environment during the recent decades. The World Ocean pollution has reached menacing proportions: this is not only the natural balance and biological diversity disruption – we are speaking of a danger of catastrophic climate change on this planet. After all, the World Ocean is the cradle of humankind and all living beings on the Earth.
Lately, the increasing pollution of the seas and the World Ocean as a whole has given rise to serious concerns. The major source of pollution has been local household and industrial waste waters, oil and radioactive substances. The most dangerous is the household pollutions covering vast territories of the World Ocean – we already have islands of plastic, cellulose and other wastes. That is why the preservation of the environment in its pristine condition is the basis for further well-being on the planet, and these are not tumid words any more, this is our reality.
The seabed mining may cause the pollution of ocean with slurry and near-bottom mineralized waters, and, as a result, the disruption of chemical and biological processes in the water layer, as well as the intensification of vertical water exchange. The change of temperatures in the water area may cause irreversible effects. Thus, the commonly applied hydraulic mining technology may provoke environmental complexities. This is precisely why the UN International Seabed Authority exercises control over and regulates the issuance of licenses for various deep-sea operations.
Realizing and recognizing these adverse effects to the environment, our team has developed a mining unit that prevents the movement of the silt and near-bottom water to the surface. Our Underwater Vehicle works directly with nodules at a distance of 3-5 meters from the bottom, depending on the bottom slant, using special-purpose chain ladles to collect the nodules and convey them unbroken to the Vehicle’s storage tank. When the storage tank is full, the Underwater Vehicle surfaces taking no water from the depth: it has specially dedicated technological holes through which the water can freely drain. The Vehicle causes no changes either in temperature or in biochemical conditions – that is no significant adverse impact on the natural balance.
We should take into account that the formation of various living beings at a great depth is a very fragile phenomenon. That is why in the course of development of mineral deposits one should treat the technological mining cycle in a very thorough and careful manner and recognize a high priority of recovery of the affected areas. Within the areas of nodule deposits there are some types of benthic life over the bottom surface. Mud-eaters are on a special place among these organisms; they eat sediments. With the movement along its field of operations, our Underwater Vehicle uses its water-jet nozzles to remove all living beings with water flows from the nodules concentration areas. Moreover, taking into account that the operations will be carried out in different sites of the licensed area and inevitably shifted with the stream, mining activities will be conducted in a partial load mode at different sites, thus allowing the recovery of affected territories in the course of time.