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To the bottom of the sea for P: seafloor P mining off of New Zealand

May 4, 2012

A new article in an online New Zealand newspaper ( has a good description of exploration efforts assessing the possibilities of mining for rock phosphate on the Chatham Rise at a depth of 400m , 200 m deeper than any existing underwater mining operation.  LINK   The article notes that the prospects are good but it’s not clear from the piece if there are associated concerns about marine fisheries or other dimensions of the planned activities.  Certainly one would expect Kiwi’s to be wary of such things but let’s see.  As posted earlier, in Nambia seafloor mining for P has raised objections from the fishing industry and elsewhere.    You’d think it’d be a lot easier to go to the depths of a manure pile or a sewage treatment plant or septic tank to get P than to the depths of the high seas?  But that would require inventing a whole new industry for P recovery, whereas we do seem to be really good at mining after all this time….

Chatham Rise, off of New Zealand (Source: Wikipedia)

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