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Welcome to MIDAS

The MIDAS project - Managing Impacts of Deep-seA reSource exploitation - was a multidisciplinary research programme investigating the environmental impacts of extracting mineral and energy resources from the deep-sea environment. This included 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 was funded under the European Commission's Framework 7 initiative from November 2013 for a period of 3 years, and has recently completed its programme of research.



The MIDAS partnership represented a unique combination of scientists, industry, social scientists, legal experts, NGOs and SMEs from across Europe. MIDAS carried 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 were addressed. 



All this information was used to develop recommendations for best practice in the mining industry; these are summarised in the MIDAS Recommendations document, available to download below. A key component of MIDAS was the involvement of industry within the project and through stakeholder engagements to find feasible solutions. We worked closely with European and international regulatory organisations to support the translation of these recommendations forward into legislation. A major element of MIDAS was 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. To date, more than 50 scientific papers have been published (or accepted for publication) in peer-reviewed journals. An up to date list of these papers is available via our Library, and we also maintain a open-access project publication archive in Zenodo (please search for "MIDAS project publications" or use the grant number 603418).

The MIDAS project involved 32 partners around Europe and was coordinated by Seascape Consultants. For more information about the project, please follow the links on this page or contact the Project Management Office.


Download MIDAS Research Highlights brochure   Download MIDAS Recommendations document