UN to start taking deep-sea mining applications this July

April 3, 2023

The United Nation’s International Seabed Authority (ISA) governing council formulated a draft decision that will allow companies to file permit applications to begin mining the ocean’s floor for minerals such as copper, cobalt, nickel and manganese.

Reuters reported that the ISA will begin accepting applications on July 9, a date that was set in motion by actions the island nation of Nauru took in 2021, according to a copy of the draft decision seen by Reuters.

The decision came after the ISA spent two weeks debating standards ocean floor mining that would mine potato-sized rocks called “polymetallic nodules” on the ocean’s floor at depths of 4 to 6 km (2.5 to 4 miles). They are abundant in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ) in the North Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and Mexico.

The Metals Co, which has a deal to supply metals to Glencore Plc, is one of the most prominent voices advocating for the practice. Its executives have repeatedly said they believe deep-sea mining would have less impact than traditional mining for battery metals on land.

China is a leader in deep-sea mining exploration, but Chile, France, Palau and Fiji, among other nations, have called for a global moratorium on the practice, citing environmental concerns and a lack of sufficient scientific data.



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