Australia – Key statements

Date: 11 November 2022

March 2024

27/3/24

  • Australia stated that REMPs are not binding in nature. 
  • Australia believes that test mining should take place prior to the submission of a plan of work. 
  • Australia is open to the inclusion of intangible cultural heritage in the exploitation regulations.

26/3/24

  • Australia believes that an environmental compensation fund should function as a last resort measure so all damages to the marine environment are compensated for only in limited circumstances when a contractor cannot pay. 
  • Australia believes that the fund should extend to harm to the Area, harm to the environment in the high seas and to coastal waters.
  • Australia believes there should be a level of funds in the environmental compensation fund before exploitation begins.

22/3/24

  • Australia supports an independent compliance committee, entirely separate from those that make and approve mining plans.
  • For a compliance committee, Australia would support independent experts that are not government appointed.

18/3/24

  • Australia would like to align ourselves to the participation of observers in the work
  • “Observers have made considerable constructive and valuable contributions”
  • Australia requested hat observers be allowed to speak in informal-informals.

November 2023

7/11/23

  • Australia agrees with Costa Rica that there are nonetheless situations where information must be disclosed by the Authority without agreement by the contractor

1/11/23

  • “Regarding intangible heritage, we support in principle and look forward to continuing if discussions continue.”
  • Regulation 53: Australia considers it important that the requirements for the fund by understood and in place prior to the plan of work approval
  • Where there is an incident, Australia believes the contractor must submit a report on the nature and the consequences of the incident and harm to the environment and showing whether there is an emergency response’
  • “We don’t consider that there is any reason as to why the contractors liability or payment should or would be insufficient to limit remedy and compensate for any damage. So resource should only be had to the fund, where the contractor cannot satisfy that liability.”

31/10/23

  • Australia agrees with Spain and others that the Compliance mechanism must be in place before exploitation can commence.

July 2023

25/7/23

  • Australia states that commercial exploitation should not begin in the absence of the rules, regulations, and procedures to govern exploitation. Australia welcomes the Council’s decision with the accompanying roadmap for the continued elaboration of those rules, regulations and procedures.
  • Australia states exploitation regulations must have robust provisions on effective protection of the marine environment given the lack of scientific knowledge on the potential long term impacts of deep-sea mining in the area, on our oceans, marine ecosystems and biodiversity

14/7/23

  • Despite efforts, the regulations have not been finalized and much work remains to be done. It is clear the regulations will not be ready for adoption at this meeting of the council or at the next. 
  • Australia’s position is that the programme of work should not be approved without exploitation regulations and Standards and Guidelines in place. 
  • Every signatory to the Convention is under an obligation to protect the marine environment.
  • The exploitation regulations must have robust rules on the protection of the marine environment. 
  • We do not yet know the impact on the environment of biodiversity. This lack of knowledge means precaution must inform the application of measures. 
  • Australia holds that the Council should not approve a programme of work before the exploitation regulations are complete.

13/7/23

  • Support the UK’s comment that an EIA must be required prior to any test mining activities, along with an enforceable contract. There must be protection of the marine environment during this process.

March 2023

27/3/23

  • We restate – we want clear robust effective Rules, Regulations and Procedures including standards and guidelines in place before any exploitation is approved.

21/3/23

  • Called for protection of the marine environment from ‘harmful effects’
  • Called for contractors to monitor, mitigate, and remediate any harm (DOSI warned that mitigation or remediation of any impacts in the deep-sea would not be possible and impacts would be irreversible)

October/November 2022

11/11/22

  • Called for more time to be allocated to LTC meeting next year.

4/11/22

  • Australia stated that “we think that we should continue in good faith to complete the regulations by July of next year”

July/August 2022

4/8/22

  • “Australia respects that in activating the 2-year trigger, Nauru was exercising their rights under international law. There is a considerable amount of work to do on the regulations.  Australia is committed to finalize the regulations and associated instruments by July next year. We want to meet the deadlines on 1994 agreement.”

3/8/22

  • Stated that “this may risk a conflict of interest in ISA processes.”
  • “We recognize that there is currently no industry group representing DSM, but there is no obstacle to one being formed.”

25/7/22

  • Australia supported New Zealand’s proposal to delete ‘serious’ before the word ‘harm’ in regulations.

21/7/22

  • Australia stated that it fully supported the need for strong environmental protection.
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