One of the principles of sustainability is the efficiency in the creation of man-made capital from natural capital. This would potentially extend the natural capital we have. One natural capital that is critical is minerals. Copper, Iron, Gold, Diamonds are all mined from the earth. Petrol and gas are mined from the ground and offshore locations.
The other issue is the abundance of natural capital on earth. In a discussion with Atanu Dey, he suggested that if the economics would work, there are immense minerals in the ocean which could be harnessed for the creation of man-made capital. This is important as it increases the potential natural resources available to human beings.
Reuters reports on a story of two small companies which are working on mining minerals from the ocean floor.
"Underwater mining is the future with the great demand from China and Asia making it possible, despite the higher costs," said Professor Anton Eisenhauer of the GEOMAR Research Center for Marine Geosciences at Germany's University of Kiel.
"Not many people realize that there is potentially another 200,000 tonnes of copper reaching the market in the next three and a half years," said David Heydon, president and CEO of Canada's Nautilus Minerals.
One of the main attractions is the high metal grades. "There is potential to find grades that haven't been seen for ages, the surface sampling from 2005 reached 12.5 percent on copper, 15 grams per tonne on gold per year," Heydon said.
"The technology is not that challenging," Mair said. But it all comes down to how viable it would be, he added.