UN body mulls deep sea mining amid demand for minerals

Dánica Coto (Associated Press) reports on The International Seabed Authority’s negotiations to try to stop plans to open the world’s deep seas to mining.

Pressure is mounting on an obscure U.N. body based in Jamaica to hit pause on plans to potentially open the world’s deep seas to mining as companies push for permission to extract metals from seabeds in international waters.

The International Seabed Authority on Friday closed two weeks’ worth of negotiations without approving rules and regulations to oversee deep sea mining amid growing calls to pause, ban or place a moratorium on the quest to extract minerals from the Earth’s watery depths that are used in green technology like electric car batteries.

While the first exploration licenses for deep sea mining were issued in 2001, the authority has yet to receive an application for actual mining. Individual countries and private companies can start applying for provisional licenses on July 10 if the U.N. body does not approve a set of rules and regulations by July 9, which experts say is highly unlikely since they believe the process could take several years.

“We know what a crucial period…the council is in at the moment,” Deryck Lance Murray, the authority’s representative for Trinidad and Tobago, said at the closing meeting on Friday.

Scientists worry that deep sea mining would disrupt critical ecosystems that regulate climate change, and a growing number of countries are siding with them, including France, Spain, Germany, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic. “When in doubt, favor nature,” Edward Aníbal Pérez, the authority’s representative from the Dominican Republic, said at the closing meeting on Friday.

He noted that while he is aware of the importance of certain minerals given that mankind is on the brink of an energetic transition, he said deep sea mining is not the sole alternative to meet growing demand. “It is clear there are doubts as to the effects that this activity might cause,” he said. [. . .]

For full article, see https://thehill.com/homenews/ap/ap-business/un-body-mulls-deep-sea-mining-amid-demand-for-minerals/

[Shown above: A sea turtle swims over corals on Moore Reef in Gunggandji Sea Country off the coast of Queensland in eastern Australia on Nov. 13, 2022.]

4 thoughts on “UN body mulls deep sea mining amid demand for minerals

  1. Potentially catastrophic, and to think that this is even being considered at this stage. Two editorial notes on the article (which may be translation issues): “given that mankind is on the brink of an energetic transition.” “Mankind” should be “humankind” and “energetic” should be “energy.”

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