University of Tasmania

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Turbidity Caused by Spillage from a Dredging/ Mining Transverse Axis Cutter

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-23, 07:43 authored by Sarkar, MK, Neil Bose, Shuhong ChaiShuhong Chai, Sarkar, S, Dowling, K
Seabed mining introduces the potential for new mineral resources, but raises serious concerns about the environmental protection of our oceans. With potential developments located in more than 1500m of water, environmental consequences may be concealed, remote and problematic to monitor. All underwater dredging and seabed mining operations have consequent spillage from the cutter and suction configurations. The environmental impacts of this spillage can be severe, causing change and often degradation in habitat at a local and potentially regional scale. While spillage causes an increase in turbidity levels it can also release metals and other contaminants into the water column. Contaminants include ore, and gangue minerals as well as legacy deposits lying at the bottom of harbours that are mobilized during dredging. This paper reports on a spillage test, using turbidity as an indicator of contamination, in a specially designed tank with a transverse axis dredging/mining cutter, suction cowl and pump system. The paper reports the levels of increased turbidity relative to the cutter system and indicates the influence of the cowling design in reducing spillage levels. It discusses appropriate monitoring locations for optimal turbidity measurements. Experiments on spillage from new designs of seabed mining tools will enable modeling of mining best practice to minimize impact.


Publication title

Proceedings of WODCON XX: The Art of Dredging


Cees van Rhee




Australian Maritime College


World Organisation of Dredging Association (WODA)

Place of publication

Lincolnshire, UK

Event title

WODCON XX: The Art of Dredging

Event Venue

Brussels, Belgium

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Rights statement

Copyright 2013 Central Dredging Association (CEDA)

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Management of solid waste from mineral resource activities

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