2008 Update

Seafloor Mineralization
Working Group Update 2008

M. Tivey, Working Group Chair

The WG for Seafloor Mineralization was formed in 2008 and currently includes members from 9 countries (Canada, China, France, India, Japan, Korea, Russia, UK, and USA). Our WG has as its focus the objective of understanding the formation and evolution of seafloor massive sulfide (SMS) deposits. Most known SMS deposits are still active hydrothermal systems and yet their preserved and relict counterparts remain relatively unexplored and undocumented. The primary objective of the WG will be to target the inactive and preserved systems in order to address gaps in knowledge of the biology, geochemistry, and geophysics of SMS deposits. In this way, progress can be made towards understanding the governing processes behind SMS deposit formation and preservation and will help to assess the complete inventory of such deposits. A sound scientific base of knowledge would not only advance science but also inform the commercial and political world of the importance of these multi-faceted resources and encourage responsible development.

The first meeting of our WG will be in association with the event on 2 April 2009 sponsored by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, InterRidge, and ChEss, titled “Deep-Sea Mining of Seafloor Massive Sulfides: A Reality for Science and Society in the 21st Century.” This workshop and public colloquium will bring together scientists, specialists in marine conservation, mineral economics, and public international law, the International Seabed Authority, national interests, and representatives of industry and NGOs to discuss deep-sea mining of seafloor massive sulfides. Members of other IR WGs, including Vent Ecology and Biogeochemical Interactions at Deep-Sea Vents, are also likely to attend this event.