Canada calls for halt to deep-sea mining

July 14, 2023

As the International Seabed Authority (ISA) met in Jamaica to consider the potential future of deep sea mining Canada joined a growing list of nations calling for a pause to the mining process.

Three ministers, for Canada’s foreign affairs, natural resources, and fisheries and oceans department issued a statement that they supported a moratorium on commercial deep-sea mining, “in the absence of both a comprehensive understanding of seabed mining’s environmental impacts and a robust regulatory regime.”

The ministers wrote, “The government of Canada has been clear: seabed mining should take place only if effective protection of the marine environment is provided through a rigorous regulatory structure, applying precautionary and ecosystem-based approaches, using science-based and transparent management, and ensuring effective compliance with a robust inspection mechanism.”

The statement puts Canada in line with a number of European nations, scientists, environmental organisations and even car manufacturers such as BMW and Volvo, and battery maker Samsung, all of which have pledged not to use deep-sea minerals in their vehicles, the Guardian reported.

In February, the Canadian government said it would not authorise deep-sea mining in domestic waters amid concerns it does not have a legal framework in place to issue permits.

The International Seabed Authority, the quasi-UN body in charge of possible regulations, met in Kingston, Jamaica, after a July 9 deadline to develop rules and regulations governing mining in international waters passed without a clear framework.

Companies can now apply for provisional mining licenses, and while the ISA has already issued 30 licenses for exploration only, no provisional commercial licenses have been approved.



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