UK’s deep-sea mining permits could be unlawful – Greenpeace – by Karen McVeigh (The Guardian – May 12, 2021)

Deep-sea mining exploration licences granted by the British government are “riddled with inaccuracies”, and could even be unlawful, according to Greenpeace and Blue Marine Foundation, a conservation charity.

The licences, granted a decade ago to UK Seabed Resources, a subsidiary of the US arms multinational Lockheed Martin, have only recently been disclosed by the company.

In March lawyers for Greenpeace wrote to Kwasi Kwarteng, secretary of state for business and energy, warning of potential legal flaws in the licences. They have not received a response, they say.

The licences, which detail the UK’s responsibilities as a sponsoring state of UK Seabed Resources (UKSR) in its exploration of polymetallic nodules on the Pacific Ocean seabed, appear to have been granted for 15 years, but UK law only permits a maximum initial period of 10 years. This suggests they may be unlawful, the campaigners say.

Flaws in the certificates include the mapping of exploration areas more than twice the size of the 133,000 sq km (51,000 sq miles) area in which UKSR is permitted to operate, as well as a failure to include a provision for an environmental-impact assessment, the groups say.

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