The Pacific nations of Palau, Fiji and Samoa have formed a new alliance for a moratorium on deep-sea mining because of the industry’s potential dangers to marine ecology.
“I don’t think it’s worth the risk. I ask you to support deep-sea mining for increasing the vulnerability of seafloor and marine life,” Palau’s President Slanger Whips, Jr. said on Monday. He said at the United Nations Maritime Conference in Lisbon.
Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said Fiji had adopted a ban on deep-sea mining by 2030 and expanded its maritime protected areas by 8%, but if other countries follow suit, more to prevent industry. He said he believed he could.
“We cannot replace the potential discovery that seafloor mining can be shattered into dust. Knowledge must be our top priority,” Bainimarama said. Pacific Island Times.
Deep-sea mining uses heavy machinery to suck up potato-sized rocks and nodules on the ocean floor that contain cobalt, manganese, and other rare metals primarily used in batteries.
Environmental group Greenpeace said The International Seabed Authority (ISA) will meet in July and August to develop regulations that, if adopted, will begin deep-sea mining by July 2023.
“The International Seabed Authority has rushed head-on into dangerous industries, ignoring its mission to protect the ocean,” said Arlo Hemphill, leader of the Greenpeace Ocean Project. statement.
“Even strangers are preparing to join people who destroy the ocean floor in search of minerals. The deep sea, one of the world’s largest, most fragile and important ecosystems, is off limits to the mining industry. It has to stay the same, “Henfil added.
Moratorium of deep sea mining
Chile called for a 15-year moratorium on the adoption of rules on deep-sea mining on June 17, extending the deadline for adoption of the rules to States parties and “more evidence and science to ensure the protection of the marine environment. I asked for “accuracy”.
“The deep sea bottom is one of the most sensitive marine ecosystems, with insufficient scientific knowledge, especially its role as a carbon sink, and limited understanding of the potential impacts of marine activity.” And the United Nations (pdf).
Last month, a group of seven countries agreed to approve such a project only if strict environmental controls control deep-sea mining and do not harm the marine environment.
But not all countries are against it. China is a major supporter, and smaller countries, such as Nauru in the Pacific Ocean, called on the ISA last year to urgently adopt submarine mining regulations.
Reuters contributed to this report.