Author: Sebastian Losada & Pierre Terras
Over the last two weeks, the International Seabed Authority (ISA) has been in discussions in Jamaica. Its mission – to work towards the finalisation of exploitation regulations, a so-called mining code, that will allow commercial deep sea mining operations to begin all around the world.
The coming two years are critical in the opening – or not – of this unnecessary new frontier of resource exploitation. The deep sea covers around fifty per cent of the Earth’s oceans and a great share of that is in international waters. Hidden under thousands of meters of water, the vast majority of it hasn’t been explored, meaning deep seabed mining could wipe out species and ecosystems before we even know them.
The ISA regulates the sea floor outside nations’ jurisdiction. It has to decide what the rules are: how much money will go to developing countries and their communities, what kind of environmental controls there will be. And, right now, decisions that could impact the earth’s seabed forever are being made in Jamaica; ushered through under pressure from industry and mining advocates with a decided lack of transparency.
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