Hurry Up and Wait: Big Decisions on Seabed Mining Remain Unresolved

Faced with a 2020 deadline, the International Seabed Authority has a daunting challenge in completing regulations that will fulfill its mandate to allow the mining of deep-sea ecosystems for minerals while protecting unique marine habitats.

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An artist’s rendering of a deep-sea vehicle designed by Dutch company Royal IHC to harvest polymetallic nodules from the seabed. (Royal IHC)
An artist’s rendering of a deep-sea vehicle designed by Dutch company Royal IHC to harvest polymetallic nodules from the seabed. (Royal IHC)

Todd Woody | 25 July 2018

It felt like Groundhog Day at the International Seabed Authority last week.

When delegates to the United Nations-chartered organization met for their annual meeting here, complex issues that have dogged the writing of regulations to govern the mining of the deep sea for valuable minerals once again cast a shadow on the proceedings. Among them, how to fulfill the International Seabed Authority (ISA)’s obligation to protect unique deep ocean habitats from mining impacts? How to equitably share among nations royalties from mining the seabed that, under international law, are the “common heritage of mankind”? How to make a secretive decision-making process more transparent, particularly when it comes to revealing mining contractors’ compliance with already-existing environmental rules?

Read the article here: Hurry Up and Wait: Big Decisions on Seabed Mining Remain Unresolved.