Source: Seas At Risk
On 5 June, the Belgian Ministries of Economics and Environment organised an international stakeholder workshop to discuss Belgium’s position on deep-sea mining. Belgium is currently in the spotlight of international deep-sea mining development, as a sponsoring state to an exploration contract signed by the International Seabed Authority (ISA) in 2013 with the Belgian company Global Sea Mineral Resources (GSR). The contract is for the Clarion-Clipperton Zone, an area more than twice the size of Belgium.
With GSR planning the first equipment test in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone in 2019, the response of those involved (i.e. Belgium, Germany and the ISA) will set an important international precedent. Earlier this year, Seas At Risk and the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition called on the Belgian government to ensure transparency in the environmental impact assessment procedure, including public participation. Belgium, as a sponsoring state, must uphold the highest standards of environmental protection.
During the workshop, representatives of GSR and the Belgian Ministries announced that the recently submitted environmental impact assessment would be made publicly available for comments. It remains unclear, however, how either the consultation or the impact assessment would be linked to decision-making on the 2019 test.
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