Metal Mining Agency of Japan (MMAJ) initiated a five-year project called "Environmental Impact Research on Marine Eco-system for Deep-sea Mining" in 1998 to farther advance the results of the previous environmental research project on manganese nodule mining by considering the direct impact on the marine ecosystem. The aim of the research is to establish methods to estimate the impact on the marine ecosystem likely to be caused by mining operations for seabed mineral resources in deep-sea areas. This research focuses on the direct impact on the marine ecosystem. The survey area of this study is in the vicinity of Minami-Tori-Shima Island where cobalt-rich manganese nodules exist abundantly and Japan's nodule collector test was conducted in 1997. In this paper, the results of the research are briefly reported.


The Metal Mining Agency of Japan (MMAJ) has been entrusted by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), to carry out a project to develop a simulation model of mining of the mineral resources on the deep ocean floor and establish an evaluation technique to measure the environmental impact on the ocean ecosystem. The five-year project is called ""Environmental Impact Research on Marine Eco-system for Deep-sea Mining". An investigative experiment currently being done as part of the project is a called the "Direct Impact Experiment on Seamount (DIETS)". The Metal Mining Agency Of Japan performed the "Environmental Impact Research for Manganese Nodule Mining" for eight years from 1989 to 1997. This survey area covered a Japanese mining claim in the equatorial part of the north-east Pacific Ocean. In this investigation, the ocean surface and bottom layer, especially were observed and a baseline study was performed on the existing environment for physical, biological, and chemical factors. This was followed by a disturbance to assess the impact from deep sea mining.

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