Concerns, Impatience Over Mining World’s Seabeds (Voice of America/Agence France-Press – February 19, 2023)

UNITED NATIONS — The prospect of large-scale mining to extract valuable minerals from the depths of the Pacific Ocean, once a distant vision, has grown more real, raising alarms among the oceans’ most fervent defenders.

“I think this is a real and imminent risk,” Emma Wilson of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, an umbrella organization of environmental groups and scientific bodies, told AFP. “There are plenty of stakeholders that are flagging the significant environmental risks.”

And the long-awaited treaty to protect the high seas, even if it is adopted in negotiations resuming on Monday, is unlikely to alleviate risks anytime soon: it will not take effect immediately and will have to come to terms with the International Seabed Authority (ISA).

That agency, established under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, has 167 member states. It has authority over the ocean floors outside of member states’ Exclusive Economic Zones (which extend up to 200 nautical miles, or 370 kilometers, from coastlines).

For the rest of this article: