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Deep Sea Mining & the International Seabed
Authority
The case for a moratorium
Matthew Gianni
Co-founder, political and policy advisor
Deep Sea Conservation Coalition
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Aida side event: Current International Ocean Negotiations
UN Ocean Conference
29 Jun 2022
UNCLOS Part XI: Seabed Mining
Article 145
Protection of the marine environment
• “Necessary measures shall be taken…to ensure effective
protection for the marine environment from harmful effects”
and “the prevention of damage to the flora and fauna of the
marine environment”
Additional obligations Part XII: e.g. Art 194.5
UNCLOS Part XI
The International Seabed Authority is obligated to
act ‘on behalf of’, and ‘for the benefit of’, humankind as a
whole
UNCLOS Articles 137, 140, 143 and paragraph 6 of the Preamble
Biodiversity loss from deep-sea mining
Nature Geoscience June 2017
Biodiversity loss from deep-sea mining unavoidable,
irreversible on human timescales and offsets in the
deep-sea “scientifically meaningless”
Biodiversity of the Clarion Clipperton Fracture Zone
One-half of species discovered to date depend on nodules &
nodules and nodule-dependent animals may take millions of years
to recover from the impacts of mining, and even the partial
recovery of the animals living in the sediment may take hundreds
to thousands of years.”
Kaiser, S., Smith, C.R. & Arbizu, P.M. Editorial: Biodiversity of the Clarion
Clipperton Fracture Zone. Mar Biodiv 47, 259–264 (2017).
C. L. Van Dover, J. A. Ardron, E.
Escobar, M. Gianni, K. M. Gjerde, A.
Jaeckel, D. O. B. Jones, L. A. Levin, H.
J. Niner, L. Pendleton, C. R. Smith, T.
Thiele, P. J. Turner, L. Watling and P.
P. E. Weaver
https://t.co/2guvyvGfmC
Clarion Clipperton Zone
17 Exploration contracts: Belgium, China, Cook Islands, France, Germany, Jamaica,
Japan, Kiribati, Korea, Nauru, Russia, Singapore, Tonga, UK & IOM - Bulgaria, Cuba,
Czech Republic, Poland, Russian Federation and Slovakia = app 1.25 million km2
“Within all the nodule abundant ecosystems visited
within the MiningImpact project, stalked biogenic
structures have been abundant habitat
components.”
Stalked structures provide key habitat
resources for some larger mobile
megafauna for periods of their lifecycle.
Here, an octopod was observed brooding
eggs on a stalk in the DISCOL area.
Barnacle and
ophiuroid utilising
a sponge stalk in
the DISCOL region
Sponge smothered by
sediment, in close vicinity
to a disturbance track.
Each ISA mining claim area in
CCZ approximately 75,000 Km2
• Mining would occur in multiple areas within claim
(black shapes) over 30 year period of contract – each
CCZ mine would strip mine est 10-12,000 km2 of
seabed in 30-year license period (app 1/3 size of
Belgium) to mine 3MT dry weight/year nodules (app
10K ton/day)
• Sediment plumes across seabed could “easily” cover
another 10,000-30,000 km2; over all footprint
estimated at 20-40,000 km2 (Smith et al, 2020)
• Concentrations in the water column orders of
magnitude higher than natural concentrations
sediment/POC to which organisms are adopted
(MIDAS; JPI Oceans;)
Mid-water plumes
Up to 1,400 km - Wastewater, sediment & mining fines
discharged from ships could travel up to 1,400 km through mid-
water in multiple directions before fully settling on bottom
(Muñoz-Royo et al., (2021) “Extent of impact of deep-sea nodule mining midwater
plumes is influenced by sediment loading, turbulence and thresholds.
COMMUNICATIONS EARTH & ENVIRONMENT | https://doi.org/10.1038/s43247-021-00213-8)
Impacts of sediment, wastewater, noise & light
on fisheries (e.g. tuna fisheries in eastern & NW Pacific,
western Indian Ocean, Mid Atlantic), migratory
species (e.g. cetaceans, sea turtles, sharks, rays), &
crucially – the biological carbon pump
(Drazen et al., (2020) “Opinion: Midwater ecosystems must be considered
when evaluating environmental risks of deep-sea mining” Proceedings of
the National Academy of Sciences.
https://www.pnas.org/content/117/30/17455 )
Impact/Recovery?
Up to half of the larger animals in CCZ believed to be nodule dependent
species (‘nodule obligate’ species). And about half of species sampled to date
in CCZ are ‘singletons’ – not known if a result of undersampling, rarity,
endemism. Many species new to science and only a small number of species
likely to inhabit CCZ have yet been sampled/discovered.
“Nodules and nodule-dependent animals may take millions of years to
recover from the impacts of mining, and even the partial recovery of the
animals living in the sediment may take hundreds to thousands of years.”
Kaiser, S., Smith, C.R. & Arbizu, P.M. Editorial: Biodiversity of the Clarion Clipperton Fracture
Zone. Mar Biodiv 47, 259–264 (2017).
Clarion Clipperton Zone REMP
• 9 APEIs covering app 1.44 million
km2 = app 32% of CCZ (4.5 million
km2)
• BUT APEIs only designed to protect
core area (200x200km) of each
APEI = app 360,000 km2 or app 8%
of CCZ
• 4 new APEIs adopted in December
2021: total area app 44% of CCZ
but only protecting app 11-12%
from mining impacts
UN 1st World Ocean Assessment 2016
“This truly vast deep-sea realm constitutes the largest source of species and
ecosystem diversity on Earth…evidence that the richness and diversity of
organisms in the deep sea exceeds all other known biomes… and supports the
diverse ecosystem processes and functions necessary for the Earth’s natural
systems to function”
Deep sea already under stress:
• Climate change related impacts: deoxygenation,
acidification, temperature, reduced food (POC flux)
(Sweetman et al 2017; Levin et al 2016)
• Pollution: plastics, POPs in DS fish (Jamieson et al 2017)
• DW Fisheries impacts 200-2000m+ (1st UN WOA; ICES, others)
4,947 meters on canyon
slope leading to Sirena
Deep in Mariana trench /
NOAA
Structural/political concerns re the ISA
• Use it or lose it incentives: mine or risk losing exploration
claim/contract (15yr + multiple extensions?); ‘perverse’ incentive to
mine
• All countries have equal opportunity to mine and/or become a
Sponsoring State – noble idea in 1970s but can the ISA say no to
any that apply today?
• Currently at least 25 of the 31 ISA exploration contracts in the
hands of 7 countries - China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Korea,
Russia - and 3 companies UKSR (UK), GSR (Belgium) Deep
Green/The Metals Company (Canada) – Equity?
Structural & political concerns regarding the ISA
• Lack of transparency (contracts, LTC meetings) – decision to grant
mining contracts heavily influenced by LTC
• Voting structure - A MAJOR PROBLEM: If 16 individuals (or less) on
LTC recommend a country/company get a mining license, as few as
2 members of the ISA Council (on Groups A, B or C) can guarantee
the country/company gets a license even if the other 34 Council
members oppose
• 131 Members of the ISA have no vote in deciding whether to issue
mining licenses or not
Benefit to humankind as a whole?
• Economics of CCZ mining (MIT): payout to ISA countries – a few hundred
thousand dollars per country per year (if divided equally amongst 167
countries); less if discount rate/Net Present Value is taken into account.
• But potentially very profitable for individual companies & Sponsoring
States – corporate tax (but not all can/will share equally in benefits as
Sponsoring States unless all 167 apply for mining licenses)
• Economics likely to drive industry – if profitable, many countries &
companies may want to join in the ‘gold rush’. The ISA not likely to be able
to say no to (any?) applications to mine
So why Mine? The Hype
• “The green transition is going to require hundreds of
millions of tonnes of nickel, copper and cobalt…”
Gerard Barron, CEO The Metals Company (TMC) formerly
DeepGreen Metals
TMC has 3 ISA exploration contracts in the CCZ sponsored by Nauru, Tonga, Kiribati
https://im-mining.com/2020/03/02/allseas-buys-deepwater-drill-ship-adapt-
polymetallic-nodule-mining-partner-deepgreen-metals/
Even to simply equal current annual terrestrial production of Ni, Co, Cu, Mn
Main metals
found in
polymetallic
nodules in the
CCZ
Estimated annual
metal production in
tons for each mining
license in CCZ based
on mining 3MT
nodules (dry wt) per
year
Land-based
mined
production in
2018 in tons
(USGS)
Est Number of CCZ
mines needed per
year to equal 2018
terrestrial mining
production
Est total CCZ
seabed area that
would be directly
mined per year
in km2
Cumulative
impact over
30-year license
period in km2
Nickel (Ni) 37,050 2,300,000 62 18,600 558,000
Cobalt (Co) 6,375 140,000 22 6,600 198,000
Copper (Cu) 32,400 21,000,000 648 194,000 5,832,000
Manganese (Mn) 760,000 18,000,000 24 7,200 216,000
Sources: MIT; USGS, GSR: Financial Model Presentation: Techno-Economic Assessment & Financial Payment Regime. Presentation
by Kris Van Nijen, Global Sea Mineral Resources NV, to the Deep Seabed Mining Payment Regime Workshop #3: Exploring a
Financial Model and Related Topics. Singapore, 19-21 April 2017. GBR: Analysis of the Economic Benefits of Developing
Commercial Deep Sea Mining Operations in Regions where Germany has Exploration Licences of the International Seabed
Authority, as well as Compilation and Evaluation of Implementation Options with a Focus on the Performance of a Pilot Mining
Test. Study on Behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy Division I C 4. Project No. 59/15. 30 September 2016
Changing technologies: Batteries without CCZ metals
planned/already in production – no nickel, no cobalt
“Cobalt, nickel free electric car batteries
are a runaway success”
Mining.com 11 March 2021
Sulfur provides promising 'next-gen'
battery alternative
Phys.org 16 June 2020
“Lithium-sulfur batteries…
high energy density, low cost,
abundance, nontoxicity and
sustainability.”
These and other alternatives to LMNC/LNCA batteries exist:
LFP: Tesla (50%), BYD (100%), Ford, Volkswagen, others
Lithium-ion and lithium-iron
phosphate (or LFP) dominate the
current EV battery landscape.
EV Battery Technology:
The Road To A Breakthrough
April 2022
https://www.investors.com/news/ev-
battery-technology-hunting-for-the-
next-big-thing/
Deep-sea mining not needed to transition to
renewable energy economies
• Metal demands for renewable energy - Transition to
100% renewable energy economy by 2050 can be done
without sourcing metals from deep-sea
• (alternative technologies, substitute materials, recycling,
better product design etc.)
• Copper Cobalt
• Nickel Lithium
• Silver
• Specialty metals (Tellurium)
• Rare Earths (Neodymium, Dysprosium)
Teske, S., Florin, N., Dominish, E. & Giurco, D. 2016, Renewable Energy and Deep Sea Mining:
Supply, Demand and Scenarios. University of Technology Sydney
https://opus.lib.uts.edu.au/handle/10453/67336
Intergovernmental Conference (BBNJ): UNCLOS Implementing Agreement
conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in ABNJ
© UN Photo
A Tale of Two Instruments under negotiation
• On the one hand, the BBNJ Agreement – an UNCLOS
‘implementing agreement’ for the conservation and sustainable
use of marine biological diversity in ABNJ
• On the other hand, the ISA Mining Code/exploitation regulations
– an instrument under UNCLOS likely to lead to large-scale
biodiversity loss in deep-sea/open ocean ecosystems systems
already under stress (climate change, pollution, plastics)
DSM: incompatible with 2030 Sustainable Development
Goals
SDG 14, Target 14.2: “By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine
and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by
strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in
order to achieve healthy and productive oceans”
CCZ mining: likely to cause significant adverse impacts on marine
ecosystems; weaken their resilience (e.g. to climate change impacts); &
cause damage from which they may never recover. Also lead to
unsustainable patterns of production and consumption under SDG 12
Growing support for a moratorium
European Parliament: “…moratorium, including at the International Seabed Authority, on
deep-seabed mining until such time as the effects of deep-sea mining on the marine
environment, biodiversity and human activities at sea have been studied and researched
sufficiently and deep seabed mining can be managed to ensure no marine biodiversity
loss nor degradation of marine ecosystems” (June 2021)
Chilean Senate, Guam Senate, legislatures of Canary Islands, Galicia, others
Over 600 marine science & policy experts from 44 countries
https://www.seabedminingsciencestatement.org/
BMW Group, Volvo Group, Samsung SDI, Philips, Google, Volkswagen Group, Renault
Group, Scania, Patagonia. Northvolt, Ford and Microsoft stated they will avoid DSM
metals in supply chains. Banks: BBVA, Lloyd’s, NatWest ABN AMRO - More companies
likely… EU’s Long Distance (fishing) Fleet Advisory Council and other EU Councils
http://www.savethehighseas.org/momentum-for-a-moratorium/
Moratorium/concern
• 44 government ministries/agencies from 37 countries, 530+ NGOs
indigenous peoples groups supported DSM moratorium resolution 069 at
IUCN World Conservation Congress September 2021
https://www.iucncongress2020.org/motion/069
• Pacific Blue Line “ban” on DSM in the Pacific
https://www.pacificblueline.org/
• UK House of Commons Environment Audit Committee: DSM - “catastrophic
impacts on the seafloor”; ISA benefiting from revenues from mining “a
clear conflict of interest” and “the case for [deep-sea] mining has not yet
been made”(January 2019)
• High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy: Ocean Solutions report
(2020); UNEP Finance Initiative: Harmful Marine Extractives: Deep Sea
Mining report (2022) – Deep Sea Mining is unsustainable, should not be
financed nor considered a goal of any ‘sustainable’ blue economy
Moratorium on deep-sea mining
• Yes – possible, legally defensible, required under the precautionary
approach, consistent with contemporary commitments to protecting
biodiversity and implementing UN SDGs
• Future role for the ISA? Critical to maintain ISA as a multilateral, global
regulatory body with Authority over activities in the Area / CHM (but need
reform/transformed)
• Reform & transform ISA - instead of mining, ISA c/should promote,
coordinate, and/or conduct marine science research on the deep-sea and
open ocean and role in carbon sequestration and regulation of planetary
climate processes (UN 1st World Ocean Assessment) – knowledge that
would provide an incalculable benefit to humankind as a whole
The Anthropocene?
“Clearly we are in the midst of one of the great
extinction spasms of geological history”
E.O. Wilson, The Diversity of Life (1992)
A million species at risk of extinction, many over the
next few decades from direct exploitation/mortality,
habitat loss, climate change…
IPBES report (May 2019)/UNEP February 2021
The ISA is now negotiating regulations to mine deep
sea nodules in the central Pacific/CCZ
“It’s one of the most biodiverse areas that we’ve ever sampled on the abyssal
plains”…“We’re about to make one of the biggest transformations that humans have
ever made to the surface of the planet. We’re going to strip-mine a massive habitat,
and once it’s gone, it isn’t coming back.” Jeff Drazen, University of Hawaii
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/01/20000-feet-under-the-
sea/603040/
“Once we destroy vast areas of deep seabed habitat, there will be no going back. These
ecosystems will take millions of years to recover.” Craig Smith, University of Hawaii
https://www.thedailybeast.com/deep-sea-mining-may-uplift-clean-energy-and-curse-
our-oceans
Palau, Fiji, Samoa, Tuvalu call for moratorium at UN Oocean
Conference (Chile proposal SPLOS)
DSCC fact sheets on DSM & the ISA
http://www.savethehighseas.org/resources/publications/deep-sea-
mining-factsheets/
• Deep-sea Mining an Introduction
• Also available in: Spanish & French
• Deep-sea mining: the science and
potential impacts
• Also available in: Spanish
• Deep-sea mining: growing support for
a moratorium
• Also available in: Spanish
• Deep-sea mining: where are they
seeking to mine first?
• Also available in: Spanish
• Deep-sea mining: international
commitments
• Also available in: Spanish
• Deep-sea mining: who stands to
benefit?
• Also available in: Spanish
• Deep-sea mining: is the International
Seabed Authority fit for purpose?
• Also available in: Spanish
• Deep-sea mining and the transition
economy
• Also available in: Spanish
• Deep-sea mining: what are the
alternatives?
• Also available in: Spanish
Gracias!/Thank-you!
DSM in the news
http://geographical.co.uk/nature/oceans/item/4280-should-we-mine-the-deep-sea-floor-before-we-
discover-its-true-treasures
https://chinadialogueocean.net/19878-deep-sea-mining-code-missing-from-the-agenda-at-first-isa-
meeting-in-two-years/
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/sep/27/race-to-the-bottom-the-disastrous-
blindfolded-rush-to-mine-the-deep-sea
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/sep/28/false-choice-is-deep-sea-mining-required-for-
an-electric-vehicle-revolution
https://www.bloombergquint.com/business/a-mining-startup-s-rush-for-underwater-metals-comes-
with-deep-risks
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/01/20000-feet-under-the-sea/603040/
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/01/03/mining-the-bottom-of-the-sea

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  • 1. Deep Sea Mining & the International Seabed Authority The case for a moratorium Matthew Gianni Co-founder, political and policy advisor Deep Sea Conservation Coalition Amsterdam, Netherlands Aida side event: Current International Ocean Negotiations UN Ocean Conference 29 Jun 2022
  • 2.
  • 3. UNCLOS Part XI: Seabed Mining Article 145 Protection of the marine environment • “Necessary measures shall be taken…to ensure effective protection for the marine environment from harmful effects” and “the prevention of damage to the flora and fauna of the marine environment” Additional obligations Part XII: e.g. Art 194.5
  • 4. UNCLOS Part XI The International Seabed Authority is obligated to act ‘on behalf of’, and ‘for the benefit of’, humankind as a whole UNCLOS Articles 137, 140, 143 and paragraph 6 of the Preamble
  • 5. Biodiversity loss from deep-sea mining Nature Geoscience June 2017 Biodiversity loss from deep-sea mining unavoidable, irreversible on human timescales and offsets in the deep-sea “scientifically meaningless” Biodiversity of the Clarion Clipperton Fracture Zone One-half of species discovered to date depend on nodules & nodules and nodule-dependent animals may take millions of years to recover from the impacts of mining, and even the partial recovery of the animals living in the sediment may take hundreds to thousands of years.” Kaiser, S., Smith, C.R. & Arbizu, P.M. Editorial: Biodiversity of the Clarion Clipperton Fracture Zone. Mar Biodiv 47, 259–264 (2017). C. L. Van Dover, J. A. Ardron, E. Escobar, M. Gianni, K. M. Gjerde, A. Jaeckel, D. O. B. Jones, L. A. Levin, H. J. Niner, L. Pendleton, C. R. Smith, T. Thiele, P. J. Turner, L. Watling and P. P. E. Weaver https://t.co/2guvyvGfmC
  • 6. Clarion Clipperton Zone 17 Exploration contracts: Belgium, China, Cook Islands, France, Germany, Jamaica, Japan, Kiribati, Korea, Nauru, Russia, Singapore, Tonga, UK & IOM - Bulgaria, Cuba, Czech Republic, Poland, Russian Federation and Slovakia = app 1.25 million km2
  • 7. “Within all the nodule abundant ecosystems visited within the MiningImpact project, stalked biogenic structures have been abundant habitat components.” Stalked structures provide key habitat resources for some larger mobile megafauna for periods of their lifecycle. Here, an octopod was observed brooding eggs on a stalk in the DISCOL area. Barnacle and ophiuroid utilising a sponge stalk in the DISCOL region Sponge smothered by sediment, in close vicinity to a disturbance track.
  • 8. Each ISA mining claim area in CCZ approximately 75,000 Km2 • Mining would occur in multiple areas within claim (black shapes) over 30 year period of contract – each CCZ mine would strip mine est 10-12,000 km2 of seabed in 30-year license period (app 1/3 size of Belgium) to mine 3MT dry weight/year nodules (app 10K ton/day) • Sediment plumes across seabed could “easily” cover another 10,000-30,000 km2; over all footprint estimated at 20-40,000 km2 (Smith et al, 2020) • Concentrations in the water column orders of magnitude higher than natural concentrations sediment/POC to which organisms are adopted (MIDAS; JPI Oceans;)
  • 9. Mid-water plumes Up to 1,400 km - Wastewater, sediment & mining fines discharged from ships could travel up to 1,400 km through mid- water in multiple directions before fully settling on bottom (Muñoz-Royo et al., (2021) “Extent of impact of deep-sea nodule mining midwater plumes is influenced by sediment loading, turbulence and thresholds. COMMUNICATIONS EARTH & ENVIRONMENT | https://doi.org/10.1038/s43247-021-00213-8) Impacts of sediment, wastewater, noise & light on fisheries (e.g. tuna fisheries in eastern & NW Pacific, western Indian Ocean, Mid Atlantic), migratory species (e.g. cetaceans, sea turtles, sharks, rays), & crucially – the biological carbon pump (Drazen et al., (2020) “Opinion: Midwater ecosystems must be considered when evaluating environmental risks of deep-sea mining” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. https://www.pnas.org/content/117/30/17455 )
  • 10. Impact/Recovery? Up to half of the larger animals in CCZ believed to be nodule dependent species (‘nodule obligate’ species). And about half of species sampled to date in CCZ are ‘singletons’ – not known if a result of undersampling, rarity, endemism. Many species new to science and only a small number of species likely to inhabit CCZ have yet been sampled/discovered. “Nodules and nodule-dependent animals may take millions of years to recover from the impacts of mining, and even the partial recovery of the animals living in the sediment may take hundreds to thousands of years.” Kaiser, S., Smith, C.R. & Arbizu, P.M. Editorial: Biodiversity of the Clarion Clipperton Fracture Zone. Mar Biodiv 47, 259–264 (2017).
  • 11. Clarion Clipperton Zone REMP • 9 APEIs covering app 1.44 million km2 = app 32% of CCZ (4.5 million km2) • BUT APEIs only designed to protect core area (200x200km) of each APEI = app 360,000 km2 or app 8% of CCZ • 4 new APEIs adopted in December 2021: total area app 44% of CCZ but only protecting app 11-12% from mining impacts
  • 12. UN 1st World Ocean Assessment 2016 “This truly vast deep-sea realm constitutes the largest source of species and ecosystem diversity on Earth…evidence that the richness and diversity of organisms in the deep sea exceeds all other known biomes… and supports the diverse ecosystem processes and functions necessary for the Earth’s natural systems to function” Deep sea already under stress: • Climate change related impacts: deoxygenation, acidification, temperature, reduced food (POC flux) (Sweetman et al 2017; Levin et al 2016) • Pollution: plastics, POPs in DS fish (Jamieson et al 2017) • DW Fisheries impacts 200-2000m+ (1st UN WOA; ICES, others) 4,947 meters on canyon slope leading to Sirena Deep in Mariana trench / NOAA
  • 13. Structural/political concerns re the ISA • Use it or lose it incentives: mine or risk losing exploration claim/contract (15yr + multiple extensions?); ‘perverse’ incentive to mine • All countries have equal opportunity to mine and/or become a Sponsoring State – noble idea in 1970s but can the ISA say no to any that apply today? • Currently at least 25 of the 31 ISA exploration contracts in the hands of 7 countries - China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Korea, Russia - and 3 companies UKSR (UK), GSR (Belgium) Deep Green/The Metals Company (Canada) – Equity?
  • 14. Structural & political concerns regarding the ISA • Lack of transparency (contracts, LTC meetings) – decision to grant mining contracts heavily influenced by LTC • Voting structure - A MAJOR PROBLEM: If 16 individuals (or less) on LTC recommend a country/company get a mining license, as few as 2 members of the ISA Council (on Groups A, B or C) can guarantee the country/company gets a license even if the other 34 Council members oppose • 131 Members of the ISA have no vote in deciding whether to issue mining licenses or not
  • 15. Benefit to humankind as a whole? • Economics of CCZ mining (MIT): payout to ISA countries – a few hundred thousand dollars per country per year (if divided equally amongst 167 countries); less if discount rate/Net Present Value is taken into account. • But potentially very profitable for individual companies & Sponsoring States – corporate tax (but not all can/will share equally in benefits as Sponsoring States unless all 167 apply for mining licenses) • Economics likely to drive industry – if profitable, many countries & companies may want to join in the ‘gold rush’. The ISA not likely to be able to say no to (any?) applications to mine
  • 16. So why Mine? The Hype • “The green transition is going to require hundreds of millions of tonnes of nickel, copper and cobalt…” Gerard Barron, CEO The Metals Company (TMC) formerly DeepGreen Metals TMC has 3 ISA exploration contracts in the CCZ sponsored by Nauru, Tonga, Kiribati https://im-mining.com/2020/03/02/allseas-buys-deepwater-drill-ship-adapt- polymetallic-nodule-mining-partner-deepgreen-metals/
  • 17. Even to simply equal current annual terrestrial production of Ni, Co, Cu, Mn Main metals found in polymetallic nodules in the CCZ Estimated annual metal production in tons for each mining license in CCZ based on mining 3MT nodules (dry wt) per year Land-based mined production in 2018 in tons (USGS) Est Number of CCZ mines needed per year to equal 2018 terrestrial mining production Est total CCZ seabed area that would be directly mined per year in km2 Cumulative impact over 30-year license period in km2 Nickel (Ni) 37,050 2,300,000 62 18,600 558,000 Cobalt (Co) 6,375 140,000 22 6,600 198,000 Copper (Cu) 32,400 21,000,000 648 194,000 5,832,000 Manganese (Mn) 760,000 18,000,000 24 7,200 216,000 Sources: MIT; USGS, GSR: Financial Model Presentation: Techno-Economic Assessment & Financial Payment Regime. Presentation by Kris Van Nijen, Global Sea Mineral Resources NV, to the Deep Seabed Mining Payment Regime Workshop #3: Exploring a Financial Model and Related Topics. Singapore, 19-21 April 2017. GBR: Analysis of the Economic Benefits of Developing Commercial Deep Sea Mining Operations in Regions where Germany has Exploration Licences of the International Seabed Authority, as well as Compilation and Evaluation of Implementation Options with a Focus on the Performance of a Pilot Mining Test. Study on Behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy Division I C 4. Project No. 59/15. 30 September 2016
  • 18. Changing technologies: Batteries without CCZ metals planned/already in production – no nickel, no cobalt “Cobalt, nickel free electric car batteries are a runaway success” Mining.com 11 March 2021 Sulfur provides promising 'next-gen' battery alternative Phys.org 16 June 2020 “Lithium-sulfur batteries… high energy density, low cost, abundance, nontoxicity and sustainability.” These and other alternatives to LMNC/LNCA batteries exist: LFP: Tesla (50%), BYD (100%), Ford, Volkswagen, others Lithium-ion and lithium-iron phosphate (or LFP) dominate the current EV battery landscape. EV Battery Technology: The Road To A Breakthrough April 2022 https://www.investors.com/news/ev- battery-technology-hunting-for-the- next-big-thing/
  • 19. Deep-sea mining not needed to transition to renewable energy economies • Metal demands for renewable energy - Transition to 100% renewable energy economy by 2050 can be done without sourcing metals from deep-sea • (alternative technologies, substitute materials, recycling, better product design etc.) • Copper Cobalt • Nickel Lithium • Silver • Specialty metals (Tellurium) • Rare Earths (Neodymium, Dysprosium) Teske, S., Florin, N., Dominish, E. & Giurco, D. 2016, Renewable Energy and Deep Sea Mining: Supply, Demand and Scenarios. University of Technology Sydney https://opus.lib.uts.edu.au/handle/10453/67336
  • 20. Intergovernmental Conference (BBNJ): UNCLOS Implementing Agreement conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in ABNJ © UN Photo
  • 21. A Tale of Two Instruments under negotiation • On the one hand, the BBNJ Agreement – an UNCLOS ‘implementing agreement’ for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in ABNJ • On the other hand, the ISA Mining Code/exploitation regulations – an instrument under UNCLOS likely to lead to large-scale biodiversity loss in deep-sea/open ocean ecosystems systems already under stress (climate change, pollution, plastics)
  • 22. DSM: incompatible with 2030 Sustainable Development Goals SDG 14, Target 14.2: “By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans” CCZ mining: likely to cause significant adverse impacts on marine ecosystems; weaken their resilience (e.g. to climate change impacts); & cause damage from which they may never recover. Also lead to unsustainable patterns of production and consumption under SDG 12
  • 23. Growing support for a moratorium European Parliament: “…moratorium, including at the International Seabed Authority, on deep-seabed mining until such time as the effects of deep-sea mining on the marine environment, biodiversity and human activities at sea have been studied and researched sufficiently and deep seabed mining can be managed to ensure no marine biodiversity loss nor degradation of marine ecosystems” (June 2021) Chilean Senate, Guam Senate, legislatures of Canary Islands, Galicia, others Over 600 marine science & policy experts from 44 countries https://www.seabedminingsciencestatement.org/ BMW Group, Volvo Group, Samsung SDI, Philips, Google, Volkswagen Group, Renault Group, Scania, Patagonia. Northvolt, Ford and Microsoft stated they will avoid DSM metals in supply chains. Banks: BBVA, Lloyd’s, NatWest ABN AMRO - More companies likely… EU’s Long Distance (fishing) Fleet Advisory Council and other EU Councils http://www.savethehighseas.org/momentum-for-a-moratorium/
  • 24. Moratorium/concern • 44 government ministries/agencies from 37 countries, 530+ NGOs indigenous peoples groups supported DSM moratorium resolution 069 at IUCN World Conservation Congress September 2021 https://www.iucncongress2020.org/motion/069 • Pacific Blue Line “ban” on DSM in the Pacific https://www.pacificblueline.org/ • UK House of Commons Environment Audit Committee: DSM - “catastrophic impacts on the seafloor”; ISA benefiting from revenues from mining “a clear conflict of interest” and “the case for [deep-sea] mining has not yet been made”(January 2019) • High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy: Ocean Solutions report (2020); UNEP Finance Initiative: Harmful Marine Extractives: Deep Sea Mining report (2022) – Deep Sea Mining is unsustainable, should not be financed nor considered a goal of any ‘sustainable’ blue economy
  • 25. Moratorium on deep-sea mining • Yes – possible, legally defensible, required under the precautionary approach, consistent with contemporary commitments to protecting biodiversity and implementing UN SDGs • Future role for the ISA? Critical to maintain ISA as a multilateral, global regulatory body with Authority over activities in the Area / CHM (but need reform/transformed) • Reform & transform ISA - instead of mining, ISA c/should promote, coordinate, and/or conduct marine science research on the deep-sea and open ocean and role in carbon sequestration and regulation of planetary climate processes (UN 1st World Ocean Assessment) – knowledge that would provide an incalculable benefit to humankind as a whole
  • 26. The Anthropocene? “Clearly we are in the midst of one of the great extinction spasms of geological history” E.O. Wilson, The Diversity of Life (1992) A million species at risk of extinction, many over the next few decades from direct exploitation/mortality, habitat loss, climate change… IPBES report (May 2019)/UNEP February 2021
  • 27. The ISA is now negotiating regulations to mine deep sea nodules in the central Pacific/CCZ “It’s one of the most biodiverse areas that we’ve ever sampled on the abyssal plains”…“We’re about to make one of the biggest transformations that humans have ever made to the surface of the planet. We’re going to strip-mine a massive habitat, and once it’s gone, it isn’t coming back.” Jeff Drazen, University of Hawaii https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/01/20000-feet-under-the- sea/603040/ “Once we destroy vast areas of deep seabed habitat, there will be no going back. These ecosystems will take millions of years to recover.” Craig Smith, University of Hawaii https://www.thedailybeast.com/deep-sea-mining-may-uplift-clean-energy-and-curse- our-oceans Palau, Fiji, Samoa, Tuvalu call for moratorium at UN Oocean Conference (Chile proposal SPLOS)
  • 28. DSCC fact sheets on DSM & the ISA http://www.savethehighseas.org/resources/publications/deep-sea- mining-factsheets/ • Deep-sea Mining an Introduction • Also available in: Spanish & French • Deep-sea mining: the science and potential impacts • Also available in: Spanish • Deep-sea mining: growing support for a moratorium • Also available in: Spanish • Deep-sea mining: where are they seeking to mine first? • Also available in: Spanish • Deep-sea mining: international commitments • Also available in: Spanish • Deep-sea mining: who stands to benefit? • Also available in: Spanish • Deep-sea mining: is the International Seabed Authority fit for purpose? • Also available in: Spanish • Deep-sea mining and the transition economy • Also available in: Spanish • Deep-sea mining: what are the alternatives? • Also available in: Spanish
  • 29. Gracias!/Thank-you! DSM in the news http://geographical.co.uk/nature/oceans/item/4280-should-we-mine-the-deep-sea-floor-before-we- discover-its-true-treasures https://chinadialogueocean.net/19878-deep-sea-mining-code-missing-from-the-agenda-at-first-isa- meeting-in-two-years/ https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/sep/27/race-to-the-bottom-the-disastrous- blindfolded-rush-to-mine-the-deep-sea https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/sep/28/false-choice-is-deep-sea-mining-required-for- an-electric-vehicle-revolution https://www.bloombergquint.com/business/a-mining-startup-s-rush-for-underwater-metals-comes- with-deep-risks https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/01/20000-feet-under-the-sea/603040/ https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/01/03/mining-the-bottom-of-the-sea