Naura imposes two-year deadline on UN to establish rules on deep-sea mining
ISA, headquartered in Jamaica, has developed exploration regulations, but has yet to establish the operating rules necessary for mining to continue.
Nauru President Lionel Aingimea informed the ISA of mining projects to be implemented by a subsidiary of The Metals Co. in a letter dated June 25, Reuters reported.
Nauru is a sponsor state of Nauru Ocean Resources Inc (NORI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Metals Co, formerly known as DeepGreen Metals, which plans to list on US Nasdaq in the third quarter as part of a merger with a blank check company. Sustainable Opportunities Acquisition Company (SOAC).
DeepGreen said it believes the production of critical battery metals from polymetallic nodules has the potential to eliminate or significantly reduce most of the environmental and social impacts associated with traditional mining.
Nauru, with 12,000 residents, said 80% of its land was uninhabitable due to colonial-era phosphate mining and deep-sea mining was more sustainable. The Metals Co said deep sea mining will have less impact than battery metal mining on land.
“The Enigma of Sustainability”
Some environmentalists have called for a ban on deep seabed mining that would extract resources such as copper, cobalt, nickel, zinc, lithium and rare earths from nodules on the ocean floor.
Seabed nodules contain metallic batteries needed to power the global transition to clean energy, but seabed trawling for them is likely to disrupt ecosystems on which there has been little research, as they are very difficult to control. achieve, according to a report commissioned by the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy.
The report by six academics said mining the deep seabed was a “conundrum of sustainability.”
The advanced exploration Nori Clarion-Clipperton polymetallic project, approximately 4,000 to 4,500 meters deep in the northeastern Pacific Ocean, takes its name from the area of the seabed between Hawaii and Mexico and is part of international waters. The exploration contract is held by NORI, but DeepGreen Metals has exclusive access to the area.
The 4,000-kilometer strip of ocean is known to contain enough nickel, copper, cobalt, and manganese to build more than 250 million electric vehicle batteries.
The ISA, in a statement, took note of Nauru’s letter and said it aimed to resume work on mining regulations this year, which had previously been delayed due to travel restrictions linked to the pandemic.
(With files from Reuters)