The International Seabed Authority (ISA) is tasked with effectively protecting the world’s deepest seas and most alien environments, and the body is granting an increasing number of exploration permits to research institutes and private companies alike.
Many of the companies’ efforts are aimed at the Clarion-Clipperton zone in the South Pacific, where fist-sized polymetallic nodules often contain valuable rare earth minerals, and have become an attractive prospect for miners.
Meanwhile, organisations like the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and several massive multinationals are calling for a moratorium across deep-sea mining. They say that there is insufficient regulation around the new mining processes needed to extract minerals from the area, and fears a growing avoidance of precautionary principles. With the ISA caught in the middle of these conflicting interests, the future of deep-sea mining remains uncertain.
The ISA in session
Generally, the ISA has been happy to grant exploration licences for the depths of the Clarion-Clipperton zone, but changed course at its latest session. Held the start of August, the meeting concluded with what the WWF says is a clear change of tone compared to business as usual.
For the rest of this article: https://www.mining-technology.com/analysis/deep-sea-mining-legislation-seabed-authority/