The “Sword of Damocles” hangs over the future of Deep-sea Mining

Andrew Thaler for the Deep-sea Mining Observer Twenty-eight years ago, the International Seabed Authority (ISA) gathered in Jamaica for the first time to establish the regulations, standards, and guidelines governing how mineral resources—resources that under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea are the “common heritage of mankind”—would be mined from the ocean […]

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Deep-sea Mining State of Technology, 2022

Andrew Thaler for the Deep-sea Mining Observer While the development of a deep-sea mining code may have slowed to a crawl over the last two years, the mining contractors have been hard at work pushing the limits of marine robotics. Deep-sea mining contractors cleared several key technical milestones in the race to commercialize the deep […]

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Commentary: Can the invocation of the ‘two-year rule’ at the International Seabed Authority be challenged?

Pradeep A. Singh for the Deep-sea Mining Observer [1] In late June 2021, some three months ago now, the Republic of Nauru invoked section 1(15) of the 1994 Agreement Relating to the Implementation of Part XI of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (hereinafter ‘section 1(15)’), which houses the ‘two-year rule’ or […]

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Has pulling the Trigger already backfired?

Andrew Thaler for the Deep-sea Mining Observer. The Republic of Nauru turned the deep-sea mining world on its head this summer when it invoked Article 15, colloquially known as the Trigger, starting a 2-year countdown on the finalization of mining regulations for polymetallic nodules in areas beyond national jurisdiction. This countdown means that commercial deep-sea […]

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Why we’re calling on the United Nations to Protect Biodiversity Beyond Borders

Rebecca Helm, Nichola Clark, and Diva Amon for the Deep-sea Mining Observer The High Seas cover nearly half of Earth’s surface, and hold over 90% of livable habitat on the planet. Yet the High Seas  fall under no single nation’s jurisdiction (similar to the ‘Area Beyond National Jurisdiction’ (ABNJ)), and as a result, governance of […]

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© Marten van Dijl / Greenpeace

Major Brands Say No to Deep-sea Mining, for the Moment

Andrew Thaler for the DSM Observer On Wednesday, March 30, several major technology and automotive companies joined the deep-sea mining moratorium movement. Google, BMW, Volvo, and Samsung SDI (a Samsung subsidiary responsible for manufacturing small lithium-ion batteries for smartphones and other applications) signed on to the World Wide Fund For Nature’s Global Deep-sea Mining Moratorium […]

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A map of some southern MPAs

X-marks the spot: Why are some large, remote marine Protected Areas so oddly shaped?

A bold, ambitious plan to protect the ocean is underway. 30 by 30 aims to secure strong environmental protection for 30% of the ocean by 2030. To do this, nations are creating new large remote Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that cover huge swaths of their exclusive economic zones (EEZs) and preclude exploitation within these regions.  […]

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Delegates struggle to develop Regional Environmental Management Plans during a global pandemic

Since the pandemic brought travel to a halt, the International Seabed Authority has been working to meet contractor deadlines and make progress on a variety of issues revolving around finalizing the mining code, facilitating workshops, and engaging stakeholders and experts through remote meetings. These efforts include workshops on the development of Regional Environmental Management Plans […]

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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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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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