Technology based impact assessment tool for sustainable, transparent deep sea mining exploration and exploitation (TRIDENT)

TRIDENT aims to develop a reliable, transparent and cost-effective system for continuous environmental impact assessment and monitoring of exploration and exploitation activities in the deep sea, addressing the polymetallic nodules, ferromanganese crusts, and polymetallic sulphides. TRIDENT will develop and integrate technology and novel solutions to operate autonomously in remote areas under extreme conditions, and provide real-time data to permitting and supervising authorities. Before mining activities can start, potential environmental impacts and mitigation approaches must be fully understood. The effective monitoring and inspection system to be developed will comply with international and national legal frameworks.  

TRIDENT will compile all relevant physical, chemical, geological and biological parameters already known to be measured at the sea surface, mid-water and seabed. The project will also identify gaps in methods of real-time data gathering and build datasets, and develop technological solutions to address them. These are essential steps to develop statistically robust environmental baselines, establish reliable indicators of good environmental status and define thresholds for significant impact, enabling the standardisation of tools and methods. 


  1. Review probable impacts of deep-sea mining based on current mining technologies for inform monitoring parameterisation
  2. Advise on draft guidelines and protocols for establishing deep-sea mining environmental baselines based on EU shallow water mining best practice and International Seabed Authority guidelines
  3. Define an environmental baseline for Tropic Seamount to against which real-time monitoring technologies can be demonstrated


Prof. Andy Wheeler (PI, Programme Scientific Advisor, Workpackage leader)

TBC (Postdoctoral Researcher)

TBC (PhD candidate)

Marine Geosciences Research Group

University College Cork

School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, North Mall Campus, University College Cork, North Mall, Cork City, T23 TK30