‘Not well worth the threat’: Palau, Fiji name for deep-sea mining moratorium

Palau’s President Surangel Whipps Jr. speaks through the annual gathering for the 76th session of the United Nations Normal Meeting (UNGA) in New York Metropolis, U.S., September 21, 2021. Spencer Platt/Pool through REUTERS

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LISBON, June 27 (Reuters) – Involved in regards to the potential impacts of deep-sea mining on ocean biodiversity, the Pacific islands of Palau and Fiji on Monday launched an “alliance” to name for a moratorium of the nascent trade.

The backing of a moratorium comes amid a wave of worldwide curiosity in deep-sea mining but in addition rising stress from some environmental teams and governments to both ban it or guarantee it solely goes forward if acceptable rules are in place.

Deep-sea mining makes use of heavy equipment to suck up off the ocean ground potato-sized rocks or nodules that include cobalt, manganese, and different uncommon metals principally utilized in batteries.


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Chatting with a packed room on the United Nations Ocean Convention in Lisbon, Palau President Surangel Whipps requested: “How can we in our proper minds say ‘let’s go mining’ with out figuring out what the dangers are?”

“We consider it’s not well worth the threat,” he stated. “We ask all of you to assist that… deep-sea mining will increase the vulnerability of the seabed ground and marine life.”


The Worldwide Seabed Authority (ISA), a U.N. physique, is drawing up rules governing seabed mining within the excessive seas – areas exterior any nationwide jurisdiction. Till international guidelines are in place, seabed mining isn’t allowed.

The Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, which additionally helps a moratorium, stated the ISA would meet in July and August to attempt to push via draft rules that, if adopted, would see mining licensed to start within the deep ocean as quickly as July 2023.

Earlier this month, Chile additionally referred to as for a 15-year moratorium on adopting rules, citing environmental issues and an absence of ample scientific knowledge.

G7 nations final month agreed stringent environmental controls ought to govern deep-sea mining and that they might consent to such mining initiatives provided that they didn’t significantly hurt the marine atmosphere. read more

However not all nations are towards it. China is a significant proponent and even smaller nations just like the tiny Pacific island of Naru, as an example, requested the ISA final yr to fast-track the adoption of seabed mining rules.

Firms akin to Google, BMW and Samsung have been the primary globally to enroll to a World Wildlife Fund name for a moratorium on deep-sea mining.

“The prices outweigh the short-term advantages,” stated famend oceanographer Sylvia Earle. “We have to hit the cease button.”

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Reporting by Catarina Demony and Sergio Goncalves in Lisbon and Helen Reid in Johannesburg; Enhancing by Sandra Maler

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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