Welcome to MIDAS
The MIDAS project - Managing Impacts of Deep-seA reSource exploitation - is a new, multidisciplinary research programme that will investigate the environmental impacts of extracting mineral and energy resources from the deep-sea environment. This includes the exploitation of materials such as polymetallic sulphides, manganese nodules, cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts, methane hydrates and the potential mining of rare earth elements. MIDAS is funded under the European Commission's Framework 7 programme and started on 1 November 2013 for a period of 3 years.
The MIDAS partnership represents a unique combination of scientists, industry, social scientists, legal experts, NGOs and SMEs from across Europe. MIDAS will carry out research into the nature and scales of the potential impacts of mining, including 1) the physical destruction of the seabed by mining, creation of mine tailings and the potential for catastrophic slope failures from methane hydrate exploitation; 2) the potential effects of particle-laden plumes in the water column, and 3) the possible toxic chemicals that might be released by the mining process and their effect on deep-sea ecosystems. Key biological unknowns, such as the connectivity between populations, impacts of the loss of biological diversity on ecosystem functioning, and how quickly the ecosystems will recover will be addressed.
All this information will be used to develop recommendations for best practice in the mining industry. A key component of MIDAS is the involvement of industry within the project and through stakeholder engagements to find feasible solutions. We will also work closely with European and international regulatory organisations to take these recommendations forward into legislation. A major element of MIDAS is the development of methods and technologies for preparing baseline assessments of biodiversity in areas of potential commercial extraction, and monitoring activities remotely in the deep sea during and after exploitation.
The MIDAS project incorporates 32 partners around Europe and is coordinated by Seascape Consultants. For more information about the project, please follow the links on this page or contact the Project Management Office