‘We are not ready’: Divisions deepen over rush to finalise deep sea mining rules

Posted: August 12, 2022 by oldbrew in Batteries, Big Green, climate, Energy, Geology, Politics
Tags: , ,

Seabed mining


The ‘energy transition’ is supposed to replace thousands of coal-fired power stations and over a hundred million barrels of oil per year, amongst other fuels like gas and wood, in the name of an invented ‘climate crisis’. Not going to happen on the scale required, even if this new supply of minerals were to become available – with the aid of fossil fuel powered machinery. All that mining will, or would be, waste product one day.
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A growing number of countries are demanding more time to decide on rules that would allow companies to mine the deep seabed for minerals needed to manufacture batteries for the energy transition, says Climate Change News.

Last year, the small island state of Nauru, triggered a never-before-used procedure giving the International Seabed Authority (ISA), the UN body which regulates mining activities in international waters, until July 2023 to fast-track deep sea mining exploitation rules.

Countries have discussed mining the bottom of the oceans for years but no commercial extraction has started in international waters. The ultimatum would allow the nascent industry to apply for mining permits as soon as next year.

The move has led to growing calls from nations, scientists and campaigners not to rush the approval of a mining code that risks negatively impacting the deep marine environment, of which still little is known.

During three weeks of meetings at the ISA’s headquarters in Kingston, Jamaica, which ended last week, some member states issued multiple calls for a discussion on the implication of the two-year ultimatum to be added to the agenda.

Chile, Costa Rica, South Africa, Ecuador, Trinidad and Tobago, Italy and Spain were among countries voicing frustration at being forced to negotiate such a complex piece of international law under an artificial timeline.

But the ISA secretary and officials refused to add the issue to the official agenda, stripping the body’s 167 member states of the ability to meet and express their views before the deadline next year.

Deep sea mining companies have been carrying out exploration of an area of the Pacific Ocean floor, known as the Clarion Clipperton Zone.

There lies a concentration of black mineral concretion, known as polymetallic nodules, which are rich in nickel, cobalt, copper and manganese: minerals critical for manufacturing electric vehicles.

Following the triggering of the two-year-rule, the ISA secretary has rushed to design a roadmap that could allow the nascent deep sea mining industry to begin commercial operations as soon as next year.

Under procedural rules, the ISA will have to “consider and provisionally approve” requests for exploitation licences regardless of whether the mining code is finalised.

Since then, calls for banning the practice have grown. Scientists have warned that far too little is known about the deep ocean, its biodiversity and the role it plays in storing carbon to allow companies to mine the seabed.

Mining would result in biodiversity loss “that would be irreversible on multi-generational timescales,” they say.
. . .
Diva Amon, a deep-sea biologist representing the Deep-Ocean Stewardship Initiative, an observer at the talks, said: “Pushing through regulations without allowing ISA member states and observer organisations to properly debate the mining regulations and the consequences of proceeding without a robust understanding of important but vulnerable deep-sea ecosystems will not be to the benefit of humankind.”

Full article here.

Comments
  1. […] ‘We are not ready’: Divisions deepen over rush to finalise deep sea mining rules […]

  2. Saighdear says:

    Well it’s only right and FAIR ( ! ? ! ) that time should be taken to discuss such “Free-for-all” minerals. Landlocked countries with Hi-tech communities should not be denied access, who collects what and where and how. and of course as discussed the future disposal of waste products.Solubility of the minerals will affect the Seawater constituency, no doubt and removing on a large scale is akin to the excitement generated by sea-bed & Riverbed dredging.
    Meanwhile the Herons are nowhere to be seen at the fishless pond – is it the FOG we’re having all morning which is lifting now https://www.skylinewebcams.com/en/webcam/united-kingdom/scotland/lossiemouth/bridge.html or and gridwatch confirms something else as I watch an advert for ELECTRIC toothbrushes again, FFS – no wind to charge up the LITHIUM, Child mined, batteries. just saying. and where’s the heat? Cool & damp. grass is soaking wet Sara-KL completely wrong up here again and again and again.

  3. oldbrew says:

    Not seeing any of the leading EV adopter countries on the list of objectors 🤔

    NB The Clipperton Fracture Zone, also known as the Clarion-Clipperton Zone covers 4,500,000 square kilometres. Have to go some to mess all that up. However…

    In 2016, the seafloor in the Clipperton Fracture Zone – an area being researched for deep-sea mining due to the abundant presence of manganese nodule resources – was also found to contain an abundance and diversity of life, with more than half of the species collected being new to science.
    . . .
    Environmental concerns about deep sea mining
    Deep sea mining has the potential for large impacts on the environment, specifically the polymetallic nodules found in this area are considered “critical for food web integrity”.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clipperton_Fracture_Zone

  4. Gamecock says:

    “He who mines it, gits it.”

    There, deep sea mining rules complete, thx to Gamecock.

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