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Greenpeace slams deep-sea metal mining for e-vehicle batteries as 'scandalous threat' to health of oceans

As the world starts to move away from petrol and diesel powered cars, there are now questions over how the metals needed for batteries in electric cars will be sourced.

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There are warnings it could have a disastrous impact on the marine environment. Source: BBC

One method is to mine the deep ocean floor, but there are warnings it could have a disastrous impact on the marine environment.

More than 3.2 kilometres beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean lie incredible reserves of the metals, polymetallic nodules, needed to make electric vehicle batteries, according to the BBC.

There are hundreds and millions of polymetallic nodules lying on the deep sea ocean floor.

Mining companies say the environmental impacts are less than mining on land, though.

"They just sit their like golf balls on a driving range so we don't have to drill or blast to find them," DeepGreen chairman Gerard Barron told the BBC.

"Also they happen to sit in an environment where there are no forests or no plants.

"We compare that to land-based mining in these areas of rich, bio-diverse forests where we're having to destroy these carbon sinks to get access to these metal deposits. It's a no-brainer where we should be getting our metals from."

However, environmental campaigners disagree, saying mining will destroy fragile ecosystems that have developed over hundreds of millions of years. 

"With the climate and biodiversity crisis facing deep sea mining would just be another scandalous threat to the heath of our oceans," Greenpeace's Sandra Schoettner said. 

BMW, Google, Samsung and Volvo Trucks have announced they wouldn't use any metals sourced from the deep ocean in their products.