20 October, 2020

Willaert, Klaas. “Public participation in the context of deep sea mining: Luxury or legal obligation?.” Ocean & Coastal Management 198 (2020): 105368.

Beyond the boundaries of national jurisdiction, the ocean floor and its minerals are governed by a comprehensive international regime, which determines by whom and under what conditions these natural resources can be prospected, explored and exploited.  The main principles are set out in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 1994 Implementation Agreement, while more detailed rules are included in specific regulations of the International Seabed Authority (ISA). The ISA has issued rules for the first phases of deep sea mining activities (prospecting and exploration), but has yet to adopt exploitation regulations. A draft version is however being developed and provides a good indication of the current state of play. With regard to transparency and public participation, significant improvements can be identified, but considering the influence of NGOs and their crucial role as watchdogs, the power of third-party stakeholders can still be deemed fairly limited. This article analyzes the existing principles and available options regarding transparency, public participation and access to justice in all phases of deep sea mining activities, identifies the main weaknesses and suggests possible corrections, all the while assessing whether such provisions should be considered a luxury or rather the implementation of an enforceable legal obligation.


16 April, 2018

Authors: Julie Hunter, Pradeep Singh, & Julian Aguon.

With recent technological advances and growing demand for minerals used in consumer electronics, Deep Sea Mining (DSM) appears poised to become the next frontier in resource extraction. Hailed as the new global gold rush, DSM entails harvesting mineral deposits in the deep sea for use in emerging and high technology, among other sectors.

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1 April, 2018

Authors: C.L. Van Dover, S. Arnaud-Haond, M. Gianni , S. Helmreich , J.A. Huber , A.L. Jaeckel , A. Metaxas, L.H. Pendleton, S. Petersen, E. Ramirez-Llodr, P.E. Steinberg , V. Tunnicliffe , H. Yamamoto.

This paper summarizes 1) the ecological vulnerability of active vent ecosystemsand aspects of this vulnerability that remain subject to conjecture, 2) evidence for limited mineral resourceopportunity at active vents, 3) non-extractive values of active vent ecosystems, 4) precedents and internationalobligations for protection of hydrothermal vents, and 5) obligations of the International Seabed Authority underthe UN Convention on the Law of the Sea for protection of the marine environment from the impacts of mining.

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8 February, 2018

Commercial-scalemining for polymetallic nodules could have a major impact on the deep-sea environment, but the effects of these mining activities on deep-sea ecosystems are very poorly known. Here we evaluate changes in faunal densities and diversity of benthic communities in reponse to simulated or test nodule mining disturbances using meta-analysis techniques.

Authors: Daniel O. B. Jones, Stefanie Kaiser, Andrew K. Sweetman, Craig R. Smith, Lenaick Menot, Annemiek Vink, Dwight Trueblood, Jens Greinert, David S. M. Billett, Pedro Martinez Arbizu, Teresa Radziejewska, Ravail Singh, Baban Ingole, Tanja Stratmann, Erik Simon-Lledo, Jennifer M. Durden, Malcolm R. Clark.

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10 January, 2018

Rising demand for minerals and metals, including for use in the technology sector, hasled to a resurgence of interest in exploration of mineral resources located on the seabed. Such resources cannot be considered in isolation of the distinctive, in some cases unique, assemblages of marine species associated with the same habitats and structures.

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8 January, 2018

Oxygen concentrations inboth the open ocean and coastal waters havebeen declining since at least the middle of the20th century. This oxygen loss, or deoxygenation, is one of the most important changes occurring in an ocean increasingly modified by humanactivities that have raised temperatures, CO2 levels, and nutrient inputs and have altered the abundances and distributions of marine species.

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8 January, 2018

As human use of rare metals has diversified and risen with global development, metal ore deposits from the deep ocean floor are increasingly seen as an attractive future resource.

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13 July, 2017

Authored by Dr. L Woodall, Dr. C Stewart, Prof. A Rogers. University of Oxford

The Zoological Department of Oxford University has reviewed and synthesised major marine science findings which have been published since Rio+20 in 2012. The purpose of this synthesis is to determine how our understanding of the ocean at an Earth System level, with a particular focus on the role of the high seas, has changed in the last five years. The synthesis has highlighted conclusions from 271 published papers and reports relevant to the functions of the ocean.

Available in English.

5 July, 2017

Source: ACS Publications

Authors: Shigeshi Fuchida, Akiko Yokoyama, Rina Fukuchi, Jun-ichiro Ishibashi, Shinsuke Kawagucci, Masanobu Kawachi, and Hiroshi Koshikawa.

Seafloor massive sulfide deposits have attracted much interest as mineral resources. Therefore, the potential environmental impacts of full-scale mining should beconsidered. In this study, we focused on metal and metalloid contamination that could be triggered by accidental leakage and dispersion of hydrothermal ore particulates from mining vessels into surface seawater.

Available in English.