OPINION: Deep-sea mining for battery minerals is coming – thanks to a Canadian firm – by Laura Trethewey (Globe and Mail – June 15, 2023)


Laura Trethewey is the author of The Deepest Map: The High-Stakes Race to Chart the World’s Oceans coming this July.

On July 9, a United Nations body is set to start accepting applications for deep-sea commercial mining. In the most likely scenario, big machines that resemble army tanks plow across the deep plains, crushing all the life beneath them as they extract manganese nodules, which contain nickel, cobalt, copper and rare earth elements, from the seabed.

Mining proponents cite a desire to save the planet: the rise of carbon-saving technology and predicted demand for metals to make electric-vehicle batteries and wind turbines.

But, ironically, numerous countries, corporations and over 700 scientists are calling to ban or pause industry development until more is known about the effects on the deep-sea habitat. This past May, researchers at the Natural History Museum in London published a study cataloguing more than 5,000 animals in one proposed mining site with an astonishing 90 per cent new to science.

Canada has so far issued vague statements about ocean protection, despite our country’s incredible influence over whether this controversial industry becomes a reality. We have a curious history of spawning deep-sea mining companies. Vancouver’s The Metals Company is leading the charge today, just as the now-bankrupt Nautilus Minerals – also out of Vancouver – tried to do a decade ago. Canada needs to speak up more forcefully to stop this new push in its track.

For the rest of this article: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/commentary/article-deep-sea-mining-critical-minerals/