Views & Analysis

12 Nov 2022

The deliberations of this Council meeting, while our governments meet in Egypt to tackle the climate crisis, have shown clearly that humanity has arrived at a crossroads. 

What has brought us here is a broken relationship with nature and a system that puts profit before sustainability, that perpetuates our dependence on finite resources, damages the environment, and causes scarcity, inequity and insecurity in our societies. Among those benefiting from this system are corporations, such as oil and gas companies, that even today continue to accumulate wealth while people and communities are left in crisis. The UN Secretary General was speaking for scientists, youth and citizens across the world when he said in his opening remarks at the UNFCCC COP27 that we are on “a highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator”. 

In this Council meeting, “good faith” is equated to forging ahead on a pathway we know is perilous, by empowering mining corporations to strip mine the last remaining pristine areas of our planet for profit. By letting deep-sea mining happen, possibly as soon as next year, our generation is literally scraping the bottom of the barrel, knowing well that the consequences will be felt by those to come. 

But as we stand together at this crossroads, we know there is another path. It has been shown to us by millions of people worldwide who care deeply about the ocean, and a growing number of States namely Palau, Fiji, Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, Costa Rica, Chile, Spain, Ecuador, New Zealand, Germany, Panama and France who want to hit the brakes on deep-sea mining.  

Rather than being remembered as the generation that delivered the final blow to our planet by unleashing a new industry which could have wide-ranging and even catastrophic impacts, wiping out fragile habitats and species and disturbing the ocean carbon cycle1, we ask governments to put sustainability and intergenerational equity first. 

To those States not yet onboard we say this: Take the foot off the accelerator and hit the brakes. We urge you to listen to the calls for precaution and protection and come at the next Council meeting ready to walk alongside those who are resisting deep-sea mining, for the benefit of humankind and in ‘good faith’ towards future generations. A deep-sea mining moratorium is the way forward.

1 Undisturbed: The deep ocean’s vital role in safeguarding us from crisis, is a new report by scientists from the Benioff Ocean Initiative, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and the International Programme on the State of the Ocean, highlighting the important role of the deep ocean in mitigating climate change and warning of the serious threats the deep sea faces.

19 Jul 2022

Views and Analysis

18-19 July 2022

Negotiations at the International Seabed Authority (ISA) to rush through a mining code for the emerging destructive deep-sea mining industry have begun this week in Jamaica, amid mounting concerns that the body charged with regulating the industry, were it to go ahead, is not fit for purpose.

The continuation of the ISA’s 27th Council meeting has seen civil society and scientists relegated to a windowless basement room, with a live feed to the main negotiating room at the Knutsford Hotel in Kingston.

Continue reading The problem with the ISA protecting the deep

31 Mar 2022

We’ve reached the penultimate day of International Seabed Authority (ISA) negotiations, as the Authority seeks to rush through discussions on how to regulate a looming extractive industry threatening the farthest reaches of our ocean: deep-sea mining. As this session nears its end, the DSCC and other NGOs continue to call for a moratorium on this destructive practice that would leave permanent scars on the seabed and cause wide scale damage in areas far beyond the areas directly mined.

Continue reading The gloves come off – 31/3/22

30 Mar 2022

Negotiations of draft rules and regulations, that could regulate the looming deep-sea mining industry were it to go ahead, entered their 8th day today in Kingston Jamaica.

Today’s session opened with an address from the International Seabed Authority (ISA’s) Secretary General, followed by the Chair of the Authority’s Legal and Technical Commission (LTC), presenting a report which included the development of Regional Environmental Monitoring Plans (REMPs), contract extensions, applications for new exploratory licences and an update on would be miners’ Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

Continue reading On a sticky wicket: Delegates continue to be stumped by inadequate draft deep-sea mining regulations – 30/3/22 

29 Mar 2022

On the 7th day of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) meeting to rush through regulations that would allow the commercial exploitation of the deep sea to begin, negotiations continued. The morning session focused on compliance and enforcement regulations, moving to institutional matters in the afternoon.

The DSCC continued to highlight that the ISA is not fit for purpose and therefore cannot regulate any proposed mining operations in the deep ocean, which would dwarf anything humanity has seen before if it were permitted to go ahead.

Continue reading Keeping the lid on Pandora’s box – 29/3/22

29 Mar 2022

Today marked the beginning of the second week of the International Seabed Authority (ISA)’s 27th Council meeting to continue the rapid development of rules and regulations that, if agreed, would open the deep-sea to deep-sea mining as soon as July 2023.

Discussions were supposed to be largely dedicated to developing the standards and guidelines, which would form a key part of the rules and regulations for deep-sea mining, if the industry were to go ahead. However, the negotiations were cut short and moved quickly onto a detailed discussion of compliance and enforcement of the emerging industry with very little attention paid to the standards and guidelines. 

Continue reading A clear demonstration that the ISA is not fit for purpose – 28/3/22

25 Mar 2022

Day five saw continued discussion at the International Seabed Authority (ISA) on proposed deep-sea mining regulations, focusing on the environmental impacts of the damaging industry. If the proposed Mining Code were to be adopted, commercial strip-mining in the deep sea could begin as soon as 2023. 

The morning’s discussions focused on the proposal for an environmental compensation fund (ECF). The DSCC raised significant concerns that liability and responsibility issues have not been discussed at the ISA. The proposed fund would be supposed to come into play if deep-sea mining were to go ahead and contractors did not have sufficient funds to compensate for damages incurred. The DSCC highlighted in today’s talks that it is highly likely that contractors would not have sufficient funds to cover such costs- and could, in essence, walk away from their responsibilities. This is made worse by the fact that the Council isn’t discussing ‘effective control’ – how (or if) the sponsoring State controls the contractor, in reality. The DSCC has been raising these issues with the ISA for years.

Continue reading What would be at stake if risky deep-sea mining were to go ahead? 25/3/22

24 Mar 2022

Today at the International Seabed Authority’s (ISA) 27th meeting to develop regulations for the emerging deep-sea mining industry, negotiations continued on the proposed environmental regulations.

A key issue emerging from today’s negotiations was around industry self-regulation. The ISA’s proposed regulations would essentially allow contractors to set their own rules that would leave the ocean open to irreversible environmental damage on multigenerational timescales. The DSCC’s Duncan Currie warned that “relying on the contractor to monitor themselves is akin to allowing the fox to monitor the chicken pen.”

Continue reading Allowing The Fox to Monitor the Chickens – 24/3/22