deep sea mining

8 Nov 2022


DR 1

Thank you. We just have a brief observation to bring to the attention of delegates. ITLOS said in its Advisory Opinion that It should be stressed that the obligation to conduct an environmental impact assessment is a direct obligation under the Convention and a general obligation under customary international law, and likewise we would add that the precautionary principle is also part of customary international law.

DR 2 – Paragraph 2

We just have a comment on the title as well as the discussion taking place at the moment about principles versus policies.

On the title, we believe that Draft Regulation 2 must revert to being called fundamental principles, as it should include critical principles such as the common heritage of humankind, the precautionary principle, effective protection of the marine environment and no loss of biodiversity. These principles are cornerstones of the Convention and international environmental law and are by  their nature fundamental and cannot be weighed against other matters. They’re critical to the interpretation and application of regulations.

So likewise, we do not support policies and approaches being included in the title as they are by their nature weighed against each other, whereas fundamental principles such as the common heritage of humankind cannot be displaced by other principles or policies.

DR 2 – Paragraph 3

On Paragraph 3 we think this is an important provision, placing in context the relevant provisions of the Convention. It is also relevant to the expressed concerns and positions of an increasing number of countries on the importance of adequate scientific evidence.

Given that a number of delegations have said they agree with the objective and content, we suggest it should be left here for now. We cannot presuppose what will happen later, so it should not be deleted. On the face of it, and as it stands, it provides important guidance  to the Authority, in underlining the need for adequate scientific evidence, the importance of preventing harmful changes to the marine environment.

DR 2 – Paragraph 4

In Paragraph 4, we do continue to suggest there should be fundamental principles reflecting Article 145 paragraphs (a) and (b) which would in addition to the items from roman numeral (i) to (vii) include that:

  • There will be no loss of biodiversity;
  • That rare or fragile ecosystems and their habitat will not be depleted or threatened; 
  • That species will not be endangered; 
  • That other forms of marine life will be protected; 
  • And, that there will be no interference with marine ecosystems and their resilience, or with ecosystem services, underwater cultural heritage or other harmful effects, including ecological balance, biological diversity and ecological integrity;
  • Robust and independent science.

We also suggest that the definitions of an ecosystem approach, referring to the CBD Decision V/6 and of the polluter pays principle according to Principle 16 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development need to be re-inserted as well as the best available science and information, and the precautionary principle according to Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration.

On transparency, we welcome the currently proposed provisions on access to data and information, and note that under Article 14 of Annex III of UNCLOS, Data necessary for the formulation by the Authority of rules, regulations and procedures concerning protection of the marine environment and safety, other than equipment design data, shall not be deemed proprietary.

We like both Germany’s proposal of public participation and also Norway’s suggested term stakeholder participation as well as Nigeria’s suggestion of both. What is important is that there is participation in decision-making.

Finally on inter-generational equity, those who were at our side event yesterday will have seen a powerful argument and example of the importance of including younger generations throughout decision-making processes. 

There is after all ample precedent in Principle 3 of the Rio Declaration for the needs of present and future generations.

Thank you

DR 3(d)

We know that pollution, such as from plumes, can travel well beyond contract areas and indeed beyond adjacent States – with some estimates suggesting thousands of kilometers, though it could be further. This pollution may affect for example fish populations that may themselves travel beyond the affected area, such as tuna.

These issues involve the interests and concerns of any state, not just coastal States. 

This discussion underlines that we know so little about the effects of seabed mining and their scope that it is impossible to even craft effective regulations. This fully supports the calls for a moratorium, precautionary pause or ban.

7 Nov 2022

The Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC) today welcomed the announcement by French President Emmanuel Macron that France is calling for a ban on deep-sea mining.

In his opening speech at COP27, President Macron stated that “La France demande l’interdiction de toute exploitation des grands fonds marins, j’assume cette position et je la porterai dans les enceintes internationales” – France is calling for a ban on all exploitation of the deep seabed – a position which I will relay in international fora.


4 Nov 2022

On what if what if an application for full, commercial scale deep-sea mining is submitted in the absence of regulations

On behalf of DSCC, Oceans North, and The Ocean Foundation

We appreciate the opportunity to intervene on this crucial topic and express our appreciation that sufficient time is being dedicated to this discussion. 

Since the creation of UNCLOS, our knowledge of the deep sea and ocean as a whole has grown exponentially. The more we learn, the clearer it becomes that our lives are linked to – and dependent on – the ocean. This is not just a legal or economic discussion. Opening our ocean to deep-sea mining without understanding the consequences would be an unacceptable planetary gamble. If that gamble goes wrong, we are risking a domino effect of unintended environmental consequences for our and future generations.

There is an ethical dimension to this issue regarding our relationship as humankind to the ocean. It would be incomprehensible that a minority of countries could or would authorize deep-sea mining as of next year in spite of lack of support, disagreement, or opposition from a significant number of ISA members and across a broad spectrum of society. This is a decision that would have global ramifications and would go down in history as a breach of our right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment, and the rights of future generations to a liveable world. 

We urge States to take the time needed and to make responsible, evidence-based decisions anchored in the precautionary principle. We must recognize that the obligations to protect and preserve the marine environment are more important now than ever. In light of increasing stressors on the ocean, the climate and biodiversity crises, and our growing understanding of the interconnectivity of the ocean, climate, and terrestrial ecosystems, it is crucial that the decisions made by the ISA prevent further harm. We reiterate our thanks to the countries that have expressed support for a precautionary pause or moratorium to date – in our eyes, this is the only viable way to ensure the long-term protection of the marine environment. The future of our ocean is in your hands and the world is watching.

3 Nov 2022

Transfer of rights & obligations under a contract

Thank you Mr President and good morning delegates. We are speaking on behalf of the DSCC and Oceans North. 

The procedure and criteria for consideration of a request for the transfer of rights and obligations under a contract for exploration and supporting documents lack a discussion, let alone formulation, of a key issue of a transfer is effective control, as Costa Rica outlined.

Continue reading DSCC Interventions – 3.11.22

2 Nov 2022


Annex IV

This Annex cannot be developed properly as there is simply not enough scientific information to do so, for any of the three types of mining (being nodules, cobalt-rich crusts, and hydrothermal vents).  As we have seen with the recent NORI EIA, there is no environmental baseline available.

Also in terms of overview, as some delegations have said in other agenda items, the distinction between EIA and EIS is artificial and leads to confusion and duplication and they should be combined.

In terms of process, there is no proper structure to consider EIAs; no independent scientific evidence; no hearing; and no appeal or review of decisions or recommendations. There is no scientific committee, and place for stakeholders to submit independent scientific information and make comments on the applicant’s scientific evidence. 

Rigorous examination of scientific evidence, including by peer review as Costa Rica noted, and the participation of independent scientists and submission of independent scientific reports is crucial.  A forum for such independent science to be submitted by concerned States and submitters is  a fundamental element of a robust EIA process.

2 Nov 2022

Ecologistas en Acción- Madrid/Kingston, 2 de noviembre de 2022

Alemania, Costa Rica y Panamá se han sumado al llamamiento español durante la reunión de la Autoridad Internacional de los Fondos Marinos que empezó este lunes

Esta semana se ha inaugurado en Kingston, Jamaica, la reunión del Consejo de la Autoridad Internacional de los Fondos Marinos (ISA), organismo intergubernamental responsable por la regulación de los fondos marinos en aguas internacionales. La reunión internacional se produce en un momento crítico, en el que varios Estados pretenden forzar que se autorice el inicio de la explotación en 2023.

Continue reading Comunicado de prensa: Se multiplican las voces a favor de una “pausa precautoria” a la minería submarina

31 Oct 2022

DSCC ISA Council Meeting Opening Media Release 

As final preparations for the landmark UN climate and biodiversity conferences get underway, the International Seabed Authority (ISA), based in Kingston, Jamaica, pushes to develop regulations that if adopted, would see our planet’s largest carbon store opened to the biggest mining operation in human history.

Continue reading PRESS RELEASE: Civil society call on ISA member States to hit the brakes on destructive deep-sea mining