SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Members of a U.N. body charged with protecting deep international waters met Tuesday to negotiate details of a proposed regulatory framework amid pressure to allow companies and countries to mine minerals from the ocean bed.
The nearly two-week meeting of the International Seabed Authority began Monday in Jamaica but was soon interrupted by a 5.4 magnitude earthquake that struck the island and forced organizers to cancel activities for the day. The quake prompted delegates from at least six countries to leave Jamaica, including Panama, Switzerland and New Zealand, all of which support a moratorium on deep-sea mining.
The meeting resumed Tuesday after scientists and environmental groups praised the United Kingdom for joining nearly two dozen other countries calling for a ban or moratorium on deep-sea mining.
“We’re hoping it creates a sense of positive peer pressure for states sitting on the fence,” said Jessica Battle with the nonprofit World Wide Fund For Nature.