deep seabed mining

23
Sep
2019

Source: Scoop.nz
Author: Kiwis Against Seabed Mining

Wellington – 23 September 2019 — Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (KASM) and Greenpeace are in the Court of Appeal in Wellington this week, defending last year’s High Court ruling that quashed Trans-Tasman Resources’ (TTR) consent to mine the South Taranaki Bight seabed.

TTR is appealing the 2018 High Court decision that removed its consent to mine a 66 square kilometre area of the Bight for ironsands, which would involve digging up 50 million tonnes of the seabed a year for 35 years.

In granting its original consent, the Environmental Protection Agency set out 109 conditions, some of which amounted to “adaptive management” which KASM, Greenpeace and other parties argued to the High Court was unlawful, and Justice Churchman agreed.

This week the Court will hear TTR argue for mining to go ahead, and cross-appeals from KASM and Greenpeace, with the other parties, on a number of other issues the High Court decision rejected (see below).

Cindy Baxter, Chairperson of KASM, says this case is of utmost importance for preventing future seabed mining in New Zealand.

“This is a precedent-setting case, and it’s important to get the law as strong as possible, in order to protect our oceans from damage by future seabed miners. We cannot stress the importance of this case enough, in terms of the impact this destructive, untested industry could have on our ocean environment,” she said.

Jessica Desmond, campaigner at Greenpeace says it’s unacceptable the unique biodiversity of this region should be put at further risk from seabed mining.

“The South Taranaki Bight is home to Aotearoa’s own population of blue whales, the critically endangered Māui dolphin, blue penguins and other ocean taonga. These species are already under a multitude of threats from destructive fishing techniques, pollution and climate change, and this case is critical in protecting their home from damage by seabed mining.”

The case will be heard over three days between 24-26 September, and the two environmental organisations will be working alongside a range of other groups, including local iwi Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Ruanui, the trustees of Te Kaahui Rauru, Forest & Bird, the Taranaki-Whanganui Conservation Board, Te Ohu Kai Moana and a number of other fisheries interests.

The issues the two groups are cross-appealing include:

  • the application of the precautionary principle and international law;
  • the conduct of the hearing itself – including how the chairman of the EPA committee used his casting vote since there were four members, two of whom voted against granting consent;
  • the failure of the EPA to take economic costs as well as benefits into account;
  • the way the EPA dealt with issues around the effects of seabed mining crossing the boundary into the coastal marine area (within 12 miles from land); and
  • the failure to differentiate between a bond and public liability insurance

Timeline

Nov 2013: TTR applies to the EPA for a marine discharge consent for seabed mining
Mar 2014: EPA receives record number of submissions against any application in its history
Jun 2014: EPA refuses consent.
++++
Aug 2016: TTR re-applies for a marine discharge consent. Same area, same information.
Feb 2017: EPA hearings begin. Again, record submissions , again(13,700 against).
Aug 2017: EPA grants TTR consent
Apr 2018: KASM, Greenpeace et al appeal heard in the High Court
Aug 2018: High Court quashes TTR’s consent
Sep 2019: TTR takes case to Court of Appeal, other parties cross-appeal

Share this article:
10
Aug
2019

Source: Southern Fried Science
Author: Andrew David Thaler

[The following is a transcript from a talk given by Andrew David Thaler at a side event during Part II of the 25th Session of the International Seabed Authority in July, 2019. It has been lightly edited for clarity.]

“I want to change gears this afternoon and talk about a very different kind of mining. For the last two years, Diva and I have been engaged in a data mining project to discover what we can learn and what we still need to learn about biodiversity at hydrothermal vents from the 40-year history of ocean exploration in the deep sea.”

Continue reading here.

 

Share this article:
7
Aug
2019

Source: Mongabay
Author: Shreya Dasgupta

  • Creatures living in deep-sea hydrothermal vents lead a unique life that researchers are only now beginning to understand. Yet these animals are at risk of disappearing because of deep-sea mining before we even learn about them.
  • A deep-sea hydrothermal vent mollusk, the scaly-foot snail (Chrysomallon squamiferum), for example, debuted as endangered on the IUCN Red List this year because of threats from mining.
  • Mongabay spoke with deep-sea biologist Chong Chen, who has been assessing deep-sea hydrothermal vent species for the IUCN Red List, about his work and why listing these species on the IUCN Red List matters.

Continue reading here.

 

Share this article:
7
Aug
2019

Source: Chinadialogue Ocean
Author: Li Jing

The ocean is home to millions of species, many of which are still unknown to humans. It supplies us with oxygen and each year absorbs nearly 25% of the greenhouse gases we produce by burning fossil fuels. However, vast areas of the high seas, which cover nearly half of the Earth’s surface, remain unregulated.

Continue reading High seas treaty: race for rights to ocean’s genetic resources

Share this article:
3
Aug
2019

Source: Bloomberg Opinion
Author: Adam Minter

At some point in the next decade, a large, tractor-like device will start crawling the deepest seafloor, gathering potato-sized nuggets packed with metals crucial to electric vehicles, renewable-energy storage and smartphones. Nobody knows how badly this industrialization of the deep sea could damage the marine environment. Even proponents concede that it’ll disrupt and permanently erase habitats that have been barely explored, much less understood.

Continue reading Big Tech Needs to Save the Deep Seas

Share this article:
29
Jul
2019

Source: Ocean News and Technology

The International Seabed Authority (ISA) concluded its two week annual meeting yesterday following a round of speeches to mark the 25th Anniversary of the organization. The Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC) called on the member countries of the ISA to shift priorities to properly protect the deep ocean, which makes up 90% of the marine environment.

Continue reading Calls on Countries to Change Course on Deep Sea Mining

Share this article: