Pacific Seabed Mining Delayed as International Agency Finalizes Rules – by Eric Lipton (New York Times – July 23, 2023)

Efforts to extract the metals used in car batteries have been pushed off amid pressure from environmentalists and nations that oppose them.

The start of industrial-scale seabed mining to extract car battery metals from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean has been delayed after the international agency charged with overseeing the work concluded late last week that it needed more time to finalize mining rules.

The action by the International Seabed Authority, which had set a July goal for finalizing seabed mining rules, came after pressure from environmentalists and nations that oppose the effort.

The decision will most directly impact the Metals Company, a Canadian-based mining start-up that has teamed with the small island nation of Nauru to pursue the first license to start industrial-scale mining, perhaps as soon as next year — a timeline that will now be delayed.

Just how long a delay may be is unknown. Maneuvering is underway by both seabed mining opponents, who want to stop the mining entirely, as well as by supporters, who want to figure out how to get it underway by around 2025.

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