Since 1988 a research association of oceanographers exists in Germany, the so-called TUSCH-group (TUSCH = Tiefsee-Umweltschutz = deep-sea environment protection), investigating natural and experimentally disturbed conditions in the S.E. Pacific Peru Basin. The area is claimed for manganese nodule mining by Germany. The TUSCH-group aims at concentrations to an environmental impact statement. This multidisziplinary research association will be introduced and first results of their investigations will be presented.


The development of mining for polymetallic nodules and of other deep-sea ores has a 25 years history in Germany, and this may be subdivided into three overlapping lines. The exploratory line began in 1971 with cruises of RV "Valdivia" to search for economically valueable manganese nodules in the Pacific Ocean (Kollwentz, 1975), and in 1978 RV "Valdivia" was replaced by RV "Sonne". The companies Preuβag AG, Hannover, and Metallgesellschaft, Frankfurt were the main actors, and in 1972, together with Rheinische Braunkohlenwerke AG and Salzgitter AG, they founded the "Association for marine-technologically extractable resources" (AMR: Arbeitsgemeinschaft meerestechnisch gewinnbarer Rohstoffe). These activities resulted in the application of a mining claim in the SE Pacific Ocean, of another one in the NE Pacific Ocean, and the AMR is partner in the US Ocean Mining Inc. consortium (OMI) since 1975. AMR participated with OMI in the first successful pre-pilot mining test in 1978 (Fellerer, 1980). Right from their early exploration, AMR cooperated with governmental institutions and academia, and in the later years, these gained more and more influence in determining the directions in geoscience deep-sea research and cruise planning (e.g. Rad and Kudrass, 1984, Halbach, 1986, Stackelberg et aI, 1991). Between 1968 and 1981 Preuβag AG explored the deep Red Sea for metalliferous muds in cooperation with and for the SaudiSudanese Red Sea Joint Commission.

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