Monthly Archives: March 2019

High-level BBNJ side-event highlights ISA’s commitment to protecting the marine environment over the last 25 years

Press Release UN Permanent Representatives, senior officials as well as many legal and scientific experts attending the Second Session of the Intergovernmental Conference for the conservation and sustainable development of marine diversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) in New York this week attended a side-event on Tuesday 26 March dedicated to acknowledging the 25 […]

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GSR Patania II suffers a set-back

During functionality testing ahead of the proposed launch of Patania II— GSR’s purpose-built prototype nodule collector —damage was caused to a critical cable, resulting in power failure. The cable, known as an umbilical, is 5 kilometers in length and contains specialised wiring to power, control and communicate with Patania II from a surface support vessel, as well […]

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Venting fumeroles just from the crown of Godzilla hydrothermal vent. Ocean Networks Canada.

Deep-sea mining: regulating the unknown

Amber Cobley for The Ecologist | 15 March 2019 If you ask someone to describe the deep sea, the response is often a depressing description of a barren landscape devoid of life; one of such crushing pressure and eternal darkness that the chance of life surviving here seems only possible in stories of science fiction. […]

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A new species of the sea-anemone-like Relicanthus clings to a sponge stalk on the floor of the Pacific Ocean.Credit: D. J. Amon & C. R. Smith

Bus-size robot set to vacuum up valuable metals from the deep sea

Paul Voosen for Science | 14 March 2019 Sometimes the sailors’ myths aren’t far off: The deep ocean really is filled with treasure and creatures most strange. For decades, one treasure—potato-size nodules rich in valuable metals that sit on the dark abyssal floor—has lured big-thinking entrepreneurs, while defying their engineers. But that could change next […]

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China’s research ship departs for 54th ocean expedition

China launched its 54th ocean expedition on Monday to conduct research on the oceanic resources and environment in the Pacific, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR). The Chinese oceanographic research ship Xiangyanghong 10 departed from the city of Zhoushan in east China’s Zhejiang Province. The whole journey will take 255 days and travel […]

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Trying to Grasp the Financial Model

The Financial Model, the mechanism by which the ideals built into the founding principles of the ISA—that mineral resources in the high seas are the common heritage of humankind—are manifested in practice, is perhaps the most challenging component of launching any deep-sea mining venture. The financial model is predictive, based on myriad assumptions about what […]

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A snail relocation experiment near Solwara I. Photo courtesy Nautilus Minerals.

Is this the end of Nautilus Minerals?

Last month brought grim news for the struggling Nautilus Minerals, once hailed as the world’s first viable deep-sea mining company. While ISA delegates were gathered in Jamaica, news broke that Nautilus secured relief from its creditors while it sought to restructure the company. Nautilus’s assets, including equipment, intellectual property, and mining leases are being auctioned […]

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The view from the Council Chamber. Photo by author.

From the Editor: Notes from the 25th Session.

Last month, representatives from member states, NGOs, contractors, and other stakeholders gathered in Kingston, Jamaica for Part I of the 25th Session of the International Seabed Authority. Over the course of a week, the General Council discussed and deliberated on the future of deep-sea mining, including how the financial model will be implemented, how to […]

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Delegates gather during an informal meeting. Photo courtesy ISA.

The Five Most Talked about Moments from the ISA Council Meeting

It was a cool week in Kingston as representatives from member states, observers, NGOs, and other stakeholders gathered at the International Seabed Authority to continue the quarter-century-long process of guiding mineral extraction in the high seas towards production. Discussions were broad in vision, focused in scope, and soberingly detailed. While everything from the percentage points […]

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