One concern about deep sea mining is that mining activity will harm seabed ecosystems and environments. While mining in general causes impact directly on mining sites and their environment, especially massive sulfide mining in the German licence area involving the vertical approach minimizes these negative effects to a mere minimum. Active black smokers with their versatile ecosystems are without any discussion excluded from any mining activity and will remain objects of science and research projects. Massive sulfide mining will only take place in longtime defunct black smokers, which no longer provide the energy necessary to support marine life. These sites are monitored by independent governmental agencies. Utilizing the vertical approach only a small hole in the ground will remain after operation - no tailings involved.

Seabed massive sulfide (SMS) are freshly formed ores hadrothermally generated by so called Black Smokers. Due to low compression strengths they can be cut and milled with a reduced amount of energy compared to currently mined ores onshore; and they contain a lot more copper: 8 to 30% of copper can be found in seabed massive sulfides, while convential onshore ores contain very often less tahn 1%.


Electrifying much more applications in the transportation and heating sectors much more copper is needed. Wind power generators, electrical motors, transformers and thousends of miles of cables for electric grits consists of pure copper - which is unmached in it's ability to transport electricity. Studies suggest a rise of copper demand by the factor 3 to 5 within the decades to come. 

Other than silver and gold copper - like most elements - is usually found in form of minerals like Covetite, Bornite, or Chalkopyrite. Existing copper mines are operated either open pit or underground, with open pit contributing the major share of world copper supply. Another factor is the secondary copper market - copper recoverd from scrapped devices. To meet the quickly rising demand secondary copper can't contribute due to longlivety of most electrical equipment. Increasing supply based on existing mines would mean to increase their output - with all side effects: larger pits, larger tailing stacks, and usually involving local populations to make space for mining. Harvesting deep sea massive sulfides can contribute to meet copper demand without these negative effects.

Seabed massive sulfides are usually located in mounds of diameters of 50 ... 200 m and heigths of 20 ... 50 m, formed by Black Smokers. With the vertical approach, an almost surgical operation takes place: cutting under protective gear and utilizing pumps and hydrocyclones almost all particels during mining operations are kept inside the closed system. After operations are stopped and the Cutter is drawned up just a small hole remains in the ground. Even without any human interference the mounds minerals react continuously with the surrounding seawater - and so they will after mining is finished..