Opinion/Editorial by Kris Van Nijen, Global Sea Mineral Resources
Harmony has broken out in the world of deep-seabed mining. At last, contractors, regulators, NGOs and end users are aligned on the way forward. After years of heated debate, a snowball effect has occurred, and all parties have agreed that more research is needed before commercial exploitation of the deep sea can be considered.
This is a victory for campaigners who have long fought for a precautionary pause. It is a victory for regulators who have long insisted on comprehensive environmental impact assessment and a precautionary approach prior to commercial operations. It is a victory for end users who want to build truly sustainable supply chains. And it is a victory for contractors who have been fully aligned with all of these objectives from the very beginning.
It has taken a long time to reach this happy accord, but now all parties are agreed on the way forward. It is time, unambiguously and unanimously, to back research missions such as the one taking place in the Pacific right now. GSR’s Patania II trial, which is being independently monitored by scientists from 29 European institutions, will provide some of the important evidence required for rational decision-making.
The deep seabed may or may not represent one of the most environmentally and socially responsible ways to meet some of the planet’s future metal demand. Now, it seems that everyone is in agreement that continuing the research to find out is a good idea.
Support the science. Let the research continue.
Featured Image: Patania and Patania II scale models on display at the International Seabed Authority. Photo by A. Thaler.