deep sea mining

1 July, 2022


For Immediate Release 1.7.22

As resistance to the emerging destructive deep-sea mining industry continues to skyrocket in Lisbon this week at the UN Ocean Conference, French President Emmanuel Macron has called for a stop to mining in the high seas.

Speaking at an official conference side event held at the Lisbon Oceanarium, President Macron stated: “We have to create the legal framework to stop high seas mining and not to allow new activities that endanger ecosystems.”

Throughout the week at the UN Ocean Conference, the controversial issue of deep-sea mining has been high on the agenda with politicians, youth groups, scientists and civil society all calling to defend the deep and stop the nascent industry in its tracks.

“The momentum created this week at the UN Ocean Conference is a tipping point for the deep ocean, the blue heart of our planet. President Macron has effectively echoed the countless calls this week to press ‘pause’ on any and all ambitions to mine the deep sea.”

Sian Owen, Director of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition

Earlier this week, Palau spearheaded a new Alliance of Countries Calling for a Deep-Sea Mining Moratorium with Fiji and Samoa joining the call. French MEP Marie Toussaint also launched a new Global Parliamentary Declaration Calling for a Moratorium on Deep Seabed Mining on behalf of the group, Parliamentarians for Global Action, with 102 signatories across 37 countries.

“The UN Ocean Conference has shaped up to be a watershed event for the protection of the ocean with the increasing calls for a moratorium or ban on deep-sea mining.”

Matthew Gianni, co-founder of the DSCC. 

In his speech today, President Macron referred to a statement by the new Australian Minister of the Environment, Tanya Plibersek, earlier this week, who stated that with the new government ‘Australia is back’ when it comes to protecting the environment. In the 1980s, France and Australia combined forces to change the course of negotiations to open up the Antarctic continent to mining and convinced the other countries involved in the negotiations to agree to a moratorium on mining in Antarctica. The DSCC’s Matthew Gianni commented:  “I can’t help but think President Macron may have been signalling to the Australian government that they try it again, this time to protect the global ocean commons from the same destructive industry, before it starts.”

A spectacular group of Venus flower basket glass sponges (Euplectella aspergillum) glass sponges with a squat lobster in the middle.
Credit: NOAA

Scientists continue to raise the alarm that if the industry were to go ahead, it would result in an irreversible loss of biodiversity and could threaten critical carbon stocks, potential medicines and fisheries for species such as tuna.

As the backlash surrounding the destructive industry builds, so do concerns that the International Seabed Authority, the body charged with regulating the emerging industry, is not transparent or fit for purpose. Earlier in the week at an event hosted by the Authority, a peaceful protest consisting of the quiet display of A4 signs, with the message, “Deep-Sea Mining: stop and think”, resulted in UN security threatening to remove delegates from the conference and confiscate their badges. Civil society has also protested the Authority’s lack of transparency as new restrictions on participation at upcoming deep-sea mining meetings in July and August have been introduced, closing the door on negotiations for many stakeholders at what would be a critical juncture. In a joint letter to the ISA Secretary General, 31 civil society organizations called on the Authority to lift the restrictions or else postpone the meetings to ensure that as many states, civil society organizations, journalists and others can make their voices heard.

It is now vital that the frontrunners of this political movement take the moratorium call to the International Seabed Authority and other international fora as the year goes on. The world is watching. 


27 June, 2022


For immediate release – Updated 28.6.22

As the UN Ocean Conference gets underway and global attention turns towards the ocean, political resistance to the emerging deep-sea mining industry gains traction as Palau, Samoa. Fiji, Guam and 57 Parliamentarians all call for a halt to the destructive industry.

Yesterday the President of Palau, Surangel Whipps, Jr. joined the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition and WWF at an official conference side event in Lisbon, calling on behalf of his government for an immediate moratorium on deep-sea mining. As the leader of the global call, the President launched the new Alliance of Countries Calling for a Deep-Sea Mining Moratorium. Oceanographer and marine biologist, Dr. Sylvia Earle, and Debbie Ngawera-Packer, Co-leader Te Pāti Māori, Member of Parliament, Aotearoa/New Zealand joined the President of Palau at the event to explore the wonders of the deep and the critical action needed to protect in the face of destructive mining.


20 June, 2022

During the meeting of States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea from 13-17 June at UN headquarters in New York, the government of Chile called for a 15 year moratorium on adopting regulations that would open the deep-sea in the international areas of the oceans to large-scale deep-sea mining.  

The international Seabed Authority (ISA) is currently engaged in an accelerated process of negotiating regulations to allow deep-sea mining with a view to finalizing and adopted the regulations by July 2023. Chile has called on the 167 countries that are members of the ISA to agree to extend this ‘deadline’ to adopt regulations for another 15 years. 

In a written submission to the meeting at the United Nations, Chile urged “That States Parties agree to extend the deadline for the elaboration of such rules, regulations and procedures [for allowing deep-sea mining], contained in subparagraph b of the aforementioned paragraph for a period of 15 years, in order to obtain more evidence and scientific certainty to ensure the protection of the marine environment.”

A spectacular group of Venus flower basket glass sponges (Euplectella aspergillum) glass sponges with a squat lobster in the middle.
Credit: NOAA

The submission highlighted the damage that deep-sea mining could cause if allowed to go ahead and the lack of sufficient scientific information to effectively monitor and prevent damage from deep-sea mining. It also pointed out that the global pandemic has prevented a thorough discussion on whether deep-sea mining should be allowed and, if so, under what circumstances. 

The Deep Sea Conservation welcomes Chile’s call for a moratorium for the reasons outlined in the submission and is also calling for a review and reform of the ISA, in particular its decision-making structure, to better reflect the obligation in the UN Law of the Sea that the ISA operation “for the benefit of” and “on behalf of” humankind as a whole.

Read the letter in full here.

20 June, 2022


The Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC) and the Deep Sea Mining Campaign (DSMC) are calling on the International Seabed Authority (ISA) not to follow prospective deep-sea miners, The Metals Company (TMC), into the abyss as the company’s shares plummet towards $1 and momentum for a halt to the industry builds. An earlier seabed mining company, Nautilus, previously went into liquidation.  


16 June, 2022

2022 United Nations Ocean Conference Side event

Monday 27 June, 17:30-18:45 PM, Side Event Room 1 – Altice Arena

The Government of Palau will be officially launching the Alliance of Countries Calling for a Deep-Sea Mining Moratorium at the United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal at an official side event, co-hosted by the Government of Palau, the DSCC and WWF.

The President of Palau, Surangel Whipps Jr., will be joined by distinguished guests including Dr. Sylvia Earle, “Her Deepness” and Debbie Ngawera-Packer, Co-leader Te Pāti Māori, Member of Parliament, Aotearoa to discuss the wonders and importance of the deep ocean and take concrete action to defend it from the imminent threat of destructive mining.

This unique event seeks to strengthen support for a halt to deep-sea mining and safeguard the health of of our planet’s blue heart for future generations.

16 June, 2022

Source: Sustainable Ocean Alliance

Author: Annie Greenberg

Congressman Ed Málaga of Peru has introduced a bill calling for a deep-seabed mining moratorium position from Peru. This is a critical step toward protecting the health of the ocean. The bill was cowritten by Sustainable Ocean Alliance Peru and SOA’s Youth Policy Advisory Council, and is supported by The Oxygen ProjectecOceánicaAIDA, and Deep Sea Conservation Coalition.

Continue reading Peruvian lawmaker to introduce bill calling for a deep-sea mining moratorium

9 June, 2022

Author: Joám Evans Pim, Ecologistas en Acción


Environmental NGOs, the scientific community, the fishing industry and UN Special Envoy for the Ocean agreed on the need for a moratorium on seabed mining

Madrid, 9 June 2022 – This World Ocean Day in Madrid’s Royal Botanical Garden, representatives from government, environmental organisations, the scientific community and the fishing sector gathered to focus on the urgent need to protect the seabed from the threat posed by deep-sea mining, an issue that will be addressed at the UN Ocean Conference starting in Lisbon later this month.

During the event, several panellists called on the Spanish Vice-President and Minister for Ecological Transition to champion the case for an international moratorium on deep-sea mining, which could start as early as next year if urgent action is not taken to prevent it.

Sian Owen, director of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, stressed “urgency for political courage and action to press pause on this destructive activity before it’s too late, to give time and space for the science, governance and social license issues to be resolved, and for technological development to deliver alternatives”. This assessment was echoed by Iván López, chairman of the EU Long Distance Fleet Advisory Council, who also called for a moratorium.

The United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, Peter Thomson, who also previously served as president of the Assembly of the International Seabed Authority, stated that “not applying the precautionary principle is madness” and that “we must apply a moratorium during the United Nations Decade for Ocean Sciences in order to come to an understanding of the deep sea”.

The Spanish Vice-President and Minister for Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, announced that “at the next meeting of the International Seabed Authority we must go further in protecting the seabed, preventing it from being exploited, worked on, explored, without sufficient guarantees”. Last September, Spain was one of the governments that supported an IUCN resolution calling for an international moratorium on deep-sea mining, committing itself to move towards its establishment, as the parliaments of Galicia and the Canary Islands have also requested through resolutions urging the government to take this step.

Also available in Spanish here.

9 June, 2022

Source: Process and Control

The Guardian recently announced that the deep-sea gold rush for rare metals has officially begun, with mining companies planning to profit from rare earths discovered 4,000 metres below the surface of the Pacific Ocean. However, with millions of tons of e-waste produced every year and increasingly sophisticated techniques to recover rare metals from it, a more environmentally-friendly alternative might be hiding in plain sight. Neil Ballinger, head of EMEA at automation parts supplier EU Automation, explains the role of reconditioned components in reducing our dependence on mining rare earths.

Continue reading The hidden treasure: Reducing rare earths consumption with reconditioned components

8 June, 2022

On World Ocean Day, young activists led by the Alliance of Solwara Warriors gathered to protest against deep-sea mining in Papua New Guinea urging that all mining licenses should be cancelled.

Take a look at the photos capturing the day’s protests below.

Credit: Jonathan Mesulam