Deep sea mining and what’s at risk

Global organizations call for more research and policy on deep sea mining

Deep sea mining involves the retrieval of minerals and deposits from the ocean floor found at depths of 200 metres, up to 6,500 metres. From the 10 to 28 of July the world’s governments will convene in Kingston, Jamaica to negotiate rules and regulations that if agreed and adopted, would open up our ocean to the largest mining operation humanity has ever seen. This emerging industry if unregulated properly will destroy pristine ecosystems untouched since the beginning of time.

The Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC), founded in 2004 in response to international concerns over the harmful impacts of deep-sea bottom trawling is calling on countries of the world to draw a line and stop this potentially devastating emerging industry.

Today over 100 non-government organizations, fishers organizations and law and policy institutes worldwide are working together under the DSCC to protect vulnerable deep-sea ecosystems with the goals of reducing the greatest threats to life in the deep sea, and to safeguard the long-term health, integrity and resilience of deep-sea ecosystems.

Working with scientists, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), intergovernmental organizations and governments, we target the United Nations and other bodies to call for action. Members of the DSCC will be present in Kingston throughout the International Seabed Authority’s Council and Assembly meetings, urging governments to support a moratorium on the destructive, emerging industry.

The meetings coincide with the deadline of a 2-year legal loophole triggered by Nauru on behalf of would-be mining company, Nauru Offshore Resources Inc, a subsidiary of Canadian company, The Metals Company.

According to the DSCC, “This loophole stipulates that mining be given the greenlight by July 9, irrespective of whether regulations are in place. Nevertheless, an increasing number of governments are recognising that the only responsible way to prevent irreversible damage to our critical, fragile deep ocean is to support a moratorium.”

The Canada newspaper The Star has a good back report on how a Canadian company partnered with a tiny nation of Naura in Micronesia to triggered the loophole.

Please register using this Zoom link to join the conversation on July 5 at 14:00 -15:00 BST with the DSCC, Greenpeace, The Ocean Foundation and others for a media briefing ahead of negotiations where panellists will explore the issues surrounding the emerging industry and upcoming negotiations and answer key questions.

Speakers will include:

  • Sian Owen – Deep Sea Conservation Coalition Director
  • Louisa Casson – Global Project Leader for Greenpeace’s Stop Deep-Sea Mining campaign
  • Bobbi-Jo Dobush – Legal Officer at The Ocean Foundation, focusing on deep-sea mining

Greenpeace is calling leaked undercover footage of wastewater pouring into the Pacific ocean during deep sea mining tests “damning”. The undercover footage shown above of the latest deep sea mining tests in the Pacific Ocean shows wastewater being dumped by Canadian miner The Metals Company at the ocean surface, with unknown toxicity and ecological impacts.

What you can do? Send this Zoom call link to journalists heading environmental news locally and nationally. Every nation in the world needs to be onboard knowing how our shared resource and lifeline is at risk. It’s not only the prospect of deep-sea mining that worries scientists today, but existing activities such as offshore oil exploitation and natural gas drilling need to be part of the conversation.

 

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