Environmental Groups Call for Ban on Deep Sea Mining
RNZ reported that hundreds of scientists and coalitions of churches, environmentalists, and NGOs are part of a widespread outcry calling for a ban on deep sea mining, following a political move that may open the gates for it to begin in the Pacific in two years. A wide cross-section of Pacific organisations have called on Nauru to reconsider its decision, including the Pacific Council of Churches, the Pacific Islands Association of Non-governmental Organisations and the Pacific Network on Globalisation.
Pacific Network on Globalisation coordinator Ms Maureen Penjueli said there were mounting concerns the industry could exploit the region. She said "In the absence of clear governance mechanisms to deal with the trigger of the clause at the International Seabed Authority, and the recurring scientific concerns around impacts, we are really calling for an outright ban at this stage whilst we try and get the governance systems in order. There are too many significant unknowns about how the new mining process could affect the surroundings and wider environment to allow it to proceed.”
The Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, a coalition of environmental groups, called on governments to act now to stop an industry that many believe could have devastating environmental effects, for questionable economic gain. The coalition's international legal advisor Duncan Currie said if Nauru is successful it could start a race to the bottom of the ocean with other countries. Duncan said “This is really of utmost importance. That's why we would love to see the New Zealand government engaging with the Australian government and Pacific islands governments in calling for a stop to this, and calling for a moratorium within two years."
In late June 350 marine scientists and policy experts from 44 countries published a statement calling for a pause to deep sea mining operations until sufficient and robust scientific information has been obtained for informed decisions about it to be made.
Last week, the fledgling deep sea mining sector got a green light for future mining in the Pacific by 2023, due to Nauru setting a two year rule in motion at the International Seabed Authority. International Seabed Authority, tasked with regulating the seabed, confirmed Nauru triggered a clause that would allow mining to begin in two years within its Exclusive Economic Zone.