Agency to lead consortium in scheme targeting battery materials while conservationists say Australia on ‘wrong side of debate’
Australia’s national science agency, the CSIRO, has agreed to work with a controversial deep-sea mining project in the Pacific as a fourth island nation joins a call for a moratorium on the industry.
CSIRO will lead a consortium of scientists from Australia and New Zealand to help the Metals Company (TMC) develop an environmental management plan for its project, which is backed by the Nauru government.
Earlier this week the Federated States of Micronesia said it was joining Samoa, Fiji and Palau in calling for a moratorium on deep-sea mining. But four Pacific different nation governments – Nauru, Tonga, Kiribati and Cook Islands – have already sponsored mining projects.
New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research will also be part of the CSIRO-led consortium. The Metals Company would pay $1.5m for the work. A coalition of conservation groups opposed to seabed mining said the governments of Australia and New Zealand were on “the wrong side of the debate” and that deep-sea mining would be “enormously damaging.”