Reuters reported that Australian iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Executive Chairman Dr Andrew Forrest said that his charitable foundation is in favor of a pause on seabed mining, the first time a prominent mining executive has spoken out against the nascent industry. Dr Forrest said the Minderoo Foundation, which he and his wife Nicola fund with the dividends they get from Fortescue, will back a pause until there’s sufficient evidence that damage to ocean environments can be prevented. Dr Forrest, while speaking at a panel at the COP27 conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, said “If regulators can’t apply exactly the same whole-of-ecosystem studies, including flora, fauna, terrain and unintended consequence and the same or higher standards, as we do on land, then the seabed shouldn’t be mined.” Seabed mining would involve vacuuming up potato-sized rocks rich in battery metals that blanket vast swathes of the sea floor at depths of 4-6 kilometers, and are especially abundant in the north Pacific Ocean. Mining the seabed in areas outside national jurisdiction cannot begin until the International Seabed Authority, a UN body based in Jamaica, decides on regulations governing the industry. Some seabed mining already occurs in national waters but at much shallower depths, for example offshore Namibia where a De Beers subsidiary mines diamonds. The ISA’s latest round of negotiations has been marked by division between member states over whether mining should go ahead at all.