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 […]

Read More

An incomplete tour of new species recently discovered in the deep ocean

New animal species that are genuinely new to science are remarkably rare. The modern process of discovering and describing a new species, particularly animals, usually follows a pattern of creating more and more nuanced distinctions between already known groups. “New to science” rarely means “never before observed”. In other words, when we find a new […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More