Treasures of the deep

South of Hawaii the submersible slowly approached the nodules, its lights picking out the valuable rocks lying on the ocean floor. Packed with minerals, rising out of the shallow silt layer.

Strange bio-luminescent creatures floated in the surrounding darkness. Further on were the greatest prize - the hydro-thermal vents spewing black clouds upwards.

Inside the the glass bubble cockpit the Chief Mining Officer grunted in approval.

'You see all this? Several hundred years of cobalt and nickel are just lying around here waiting to be harvested'.

He pointed to the augmented reality, head-mounted display constantly recording his view of the deep sea.

'People whine and complain, simultaneously slaving after these miracle gadgets packed with rare-earth minerals'.

Huge vacuumers soon to move in would destroy the ecosystem, choking marine life's filtering systems. Man had bled the continents dry. Insatiable man, never satisfied, now moving his operations to the dark ocean floor.

The hydro-thermal vents would be shattered by massive robotic machines...