(Bloomberg) — Citing climate change, France on Thursday called for an international ban on deep sea mining, upending negotiations by a UN-affiliated organization to allow the exploitation of unique ocean ecosystems for valuable metals to begin within two years.
“As the effects of climate change become increasingly threatening and the erosion of biodiversity continues to accelerate, today it does not seem reasonable to hastily launch a new project, that of deep seabed mining, the environmental impacts of which are not yet known and may be significant for such ancient ecosystems which have a very delicate equilibrium,” French Ambassador Olivier Guyonvarch told the International Seabed Authority at a meeting of its policymaking Council in Kingston, Jamaica.
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea treaty established the ISA in 1994 to regulate mining in international waters while at the same time ensuring the protection of the marine environment. After years of negotiations to develop mining regulations, ISA member nation Nauru in 2021 triggered a provision in the treaty that requires the Council to approve those regulations within two years.
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