Although there is a treaty stating that mining is illegal in Antarctica for at least the next 30 years, there are many people who are trying to lift the ban. I believe that the ban should not be lifted, because of the millions of problems it would cause, both economically and environmentally. .
The majority of the continents oil is found underneath the seabed. Offshore mining still needs extensive developing onshore for living quarters, pipelines, airstrips and all other facilities needed. The animals would be competing with all of this everyday. A colony of penguins, for example, wouldn't stand a chance against prospectors and miners. .
You can't divide Antarctica into who gets what. Imagine the wars which could happen with countries fighting over the oil and claims on who gets to mine where. It would be a disaster. The war on Iraq at the moment is all about fighting over oil; it would be exactly the same, except a whole lot colder! .
Transport to and from the continent would be very expensive alone, and how often can you travel there? It is inaccessible for half the year when it freezes over. .
Oil spills would cost millions of dollars to clean up, and it would be hundreds of times more difficult to clean up, considering the extreme temperatures, lack of civilization and emergency crews and the fact that the sea would be frozen over for a percentage of the year anyway especially in winter. .
If mining were made legal in Antarctica then they"d mine along coasts, where the iceberg filled waters makes a clean up of any accident virtually impossible. .
If one day the world could assure Antarctica of perfectly sound equipment to mine with, that still isn't enough assurance. You can't leave room for human error. .
Antarctica so far has been left "untouched". Tourism is so great there because people love to see the pristine beauty and scientists find it so useful because it is untouched. .
Greenpeace made Antarctica a World Park in 1986.