LONDON (Reuters) – The International Seabed Authority (ISA) has rejected criticism from Greenpeace over its handling of ocean mining, fuelling a spat that threatens to overshadow talks this month by the U.N. body toward rules for deep sea mining.
Mining international waters is in the spotlight as companies and countries are looking at minerals concentrated on the ocean floor that can be used in batteries for smart phones and electric vehicles.
Greenpeace, which wants a moratorium at least until the ocean depths are better understood, issued a report this week warning seabed mining risks doing irreversible harm and said the 168-member ISA should not set the rules.
Tensions between campaigners and the ISA coincide with talks throughout July in Jamaica, where the U.N. body is headquartered, ahead of a 2020 goal its member states have set to agree rules on seabed mining. So far only exploration has been allowed.
ISA Secretary General Michael Lodge said the Greenpeace report was wrong “particularly in relation to the existing legal regime set up by international law”.
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