UK, Norway, Mexico fail to advance deep sea mining as opposition mounts


Kingston, Jamaica, 24 July 2023 –  Talks about deep sea mining and the impacts this destructive industry would have on the ocean resume today at the International Seabed Authority (ISA) Assembly. Governments negotiated for most of Friday behind closed doors. Despite growing calls for a moratorium based on overwhelming scientific evidence, Norway, Mexico and other delegations with close connections to the industry pushed for a roadmap to fast-track starting this reckless industry. The 36-member ISA Council ran overtime to reach a decision, which did not concede to the industry frontrunner’s timeline to get a greenlight for deep sea mining in 2023. 

In response, Louisa Casson, deep sea mining campaign lead at Greenpeace said:
“Last week, the ISA was dominated by discussions of how to start deep sea mining thanks to a handful of delegations – namely Norway, Mexico, the UK and the desperate efforts of The Metals Company. That’s totally the wrong focus in a climate and nature emergency.

“Despite the efforts of Brazil, Costa Rica, France, Vanuatu and others, the legal loophole that would allow deep sea mining to begin does remain open. But, the mining industry was banking on this July marking the start of deep sea mining, and they haven’t been able to force this through.

“The voices against deep sea mining have never been so widespread or so loud – from Indigenous peoples and the fishing sector to financiers. It’s time for governments to harness this momentum and translate it into a moratorium.”

Over the past two weeks the UN Commissioner on Human Rights, leading players from the seafood industry and 37 global financial institutions have joined the calls of Indigenous activists and scientists to halt deep sea mining. This is translating into political momentum: 21 governments are now calling for a precautionary pause, moratorium or ban within international waters. This week at the ISA Assembly, Chile, Costa Rica, France, Palau and Vanuatu have proposed an agenda item to formally discuss halting deep sea mining for the first time. 

Casson continued: “The deal negotiated behind closed doors on Friday does not reflect the rapidly growing concern and opposition to deep sea mining across the world. As more governments join this week, they must shift the focus. They have an historic opportunity to debate a deep sea mining moratorium in the halls of the ISA and respond to the wave of concern across the world. We can not compromise on ocean protection.”

“The way to stop this industry is through a moratorium, and that requires more governments in the room at the ISA Assembly to speak up to safeguard the ocean. The world is fighting back against deep sea mining – there’s a big fight ahead, but the fight is on.


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