What did people talk about when they talked about deep-sea mining in 2020?

Almost 1 year ago, just before the commencement of the 26th Session of the International Seabed Authority in February, we began analytically tracking the online conversation surrounding deep-sea mining. Using a service called SocioViz, DSM Observer implemented a year-long sentiment and network analysis Big Listening campaign across a range of keywords used by stakeholders to […]

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Urban mining and mineral recycling: State of the art

Sergio Cambronero for DSM Observer The energetic transition to a low-carbon future is boosting the market for renewable energies, and this is increasing the demand for minerals. Consequently, with a renewed push for sustainable development and environmental protection, these minerals will have to come from sources that do not affect vulnerable ecosystems. Society has generally […]

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Ocean stakeholders discuss calls for moratorium on deep-sea mining.

Maria Bolevich for DSM Observer This fall saw an unprecedented emphasis on calls for moratoria on deep-sea mining. Several national deliberative bodies entertained discussions on supporting a moratorium, including within some contractor sponsoring states, while a public campaign, initiated by environmental NGOs who received a boost from public statements made by Sir David Attenborough, worked […]

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Commentary: COVID-19 and the (ab)use of the silence procedure at the International Seabed Authority

Pradeep A. Singh Pradeep Singh is a research associate at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (Potsdam, Germany). Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the scheduled July 2020 session of the Legal and Technical Commission, the Council and the Assembly of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) could not take place in-person in Kingston, Jamaica. While […]

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What happens when we pull the trigger?

Throughout the 26th Session of the International Seabed Authority, during both the council meeting and via media interviews, deep-sea mining contractors have begun to talk about “the trigger”. The trigger is a protocol within UNCLOS which would allow sponsoring states to jumpstart the deep-sea mining process, placing a ticking clock on the development of the […]

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The human impacts of mining the deep seafloor

Maria Bolevich for DSM Observer Stakeholders and policymakers rightly focus on the impacts that accessing ore from the bottom of the ocean will have on the marine environment, mineral supply chains, and next-generation technologies, but the consequences of this emerging industry will have social impacts that reach far beyond the seafloor. We contacted several individuals […]

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Beyond Batteries: exploring the demand for scandium and tellurium from the deep ocean

For the last decade, next-generation batteries have been the motivating force for the deep-sea mining industry. The electrification of the world’s vehicle fleets to wean society off of fossil fuels has created huge demands for cobalt, nickel, and other metals necessary for high-density batteries. The demand has placed the green revolution in a position where […]

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The United States moves towards exploration and exploitation of critical mineral resources in the deep ocean.

Since the signing of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the creation of the International Seabed Authority, the United States of America has been a shadow partner in the growing deep-sea mining industry. Though the United States provides scientific and technical expertise, and is a de facto participant through American-owned subsidiaries […]

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Can you distract a clam?

Sometimes marine scientific studies are deep explorations into the fundamental processes that underpin ecosystem function, yielding critical insights into management and mitigation in the face of anthropogenic impacts. And sometimes marine scientific studies answer basic questions that many stakeholders and practitioners wouldn’t even think to ask. Questions like: Can you distract a clam? In “Are […]

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