Check out the top stories from the deep, taken from coverage between 19-26 June 2023
Deep sea mining companies denied over £2trn in potential funding, analysis shows
Source: The Independent
Author: Daniel Capurro
Analysis shared exclusively with The Independent shows that the amount of potential funding withheld from deep-sea mining companies now stands at over £2trn, with the UK government facing increasing pressure to ban the practice.
Three of the UK’s largest banks – NatWest, Lloyds and Standard Chartered – are turning their backs on plans to mine seabed for valuable metals and minerals. The major banks have previously ruled out funding the practice and made their deep pools of capital unavailable. With a deadline looming to put in place rules on the practice (9th July at the ISA), campaigners are demanding that the UK move to block it. A Government’s spokesperson told The Independent that: “We recognise the growing pressure to extract deep-sea resources and are concerned about the potential impacts of mining activities on the fragile marine environment.”
Environment groups condemn Norway’s move to open its waters to deep-sea mining
Author: Ian Smith
Norway’s government signalled its intention to open up the country’s waters to deep sea mining, but environmental groups condemn the move. “To forge ahead and unleash deep sea mining in the Arctic would be criminal,” Louisa Casson, global project leader for Greenpeace’s Stop Deep Sea Mining campaign said.
Why does Norway want to allow deep sea mining? Scientists refute claims that deep-sea mining is needed for green transition. Earlier this month the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC), an organisation made up of National Science Academies of EU Member States plus Norway, Switzerland and the UK, called for a moratorium on deep sea mining. Michael Norton, EASAC’s environment director, said it’s “misleading” to claim that deep-sea mining is necessary for a green energy transition. And Norway’s own environmental agency has expressed concerns at the move. It said that its impact assessment does not provide a decision-making basis for allowing mineral extraction.
Tourist sub’s implosion draws attention to murky regulations of deep-sea expeditions
Source: The Independent
Author: Ben Finley
The fatal implosion of the Titan submersible has drawn attention to the murkily regulated waters of deep-sea exploration. “These wrecks at the bottom of the sea have become more accessible with advancing technology…It doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily become safer to go down and take a look.” said George Rutherglen, a professor of admiralty law at the University of Virginia.
The International Maritime Organization, which regulates commercial shipping, could take some kind of action, he added, and Congress also could pass legislation. Nations such as the U.S. could, for example, block ships engaging in such expeditions from docking in their ports. “I would just be surprised if any incident with all of these costs involved — wrongful death, expensive rescue — would not lead to some initiatives,” he said. But not everyone agrees. Forrest Booth, a San Francisco-based partner at Kennedys Law, said the International Maritime Organization “has no authority to impose its will.” “There could be a move for states to adopt an international treaty on the deep ocean,” Booth said via email. “But that will be resisted by some nations that want to do deep-sea mining, etc. I do not think much of substance will happen after the media attention of this event dies down.”
Greenpeace ad warns of deep-sea mining risk and calls on UK government to take action
Source: The Drum
Author: Amy Huston
Greenpeace says that deep-sea mining could pose a detrimental environmental impact equivalent to deforestation. Their new and urgent campaign has been unveiled, communicating this parallel, with a series of billboards depicting wooded areas as though they are underwater.
Calling on the UK government to act, each ad reads: ‘Deforestation is a catastrophe. Deep Sea Mining doesn’t have to be another. Our government can help stop it before it starts. #StopDeepSeaMining’. “As the activity and consequences of deep-sea mining remain underwater, and our attention is captured by crises closer to home, it’s difficult to get people to understand the threat it poses, particularly as awareness of the issue is low. So, we decided to liken deep-sea mining to deforestation, a known and understood ecological crisis, to make its devastation feel real and easy to comprehend.” – Alexandru Vasile, creative director at the creative agency Elvis.
Could deep-sea mining destroy the treasure trove of biomedical compounds yet to be found?
Source: The Microbiologist
Author: Jazmin Conway
If deep-sea mining is approved without sufficient guidance, we could see devastating losses of biodiversity within delicate ecosystems. Repercussions could also be seen on terrestrial lands in the form of a scarcity of new compounds.
The deep sea is a place of wonder to many individuals. Sadly, humans are planning to come along and potentially destroy the unknown, without savouring a thought for life within the great depths and the ecological role within the fragile ecosystems below – this is known as deep-sea mining. The phrase ‘out of sight, out of mind’ rings a bell. Deep-sea mining highlights the lack of knowledge held about the deep sea overall. Little is known about ecosystem services, climate change effects, the potential loss of biodiversity and subsequent impact on biomedically relevant compounds needed within society. All of this coupled with the potential added pressure of deep-sea mining could result in irreversible changes, that will only be known once it is too late.