NGO sues Norway over deep-sea mining plans – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – May 24, 2024)

https://www.mining.com/

Environmental activists have once again turned to the Norwegian courts, this time suing the government over its plans for seabed mineral exploration, which they claim has failed to test the possible impacts of such activity.

The case, led by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), argues the decision breaches national law, goes against the counsel of the government’s own advisers, and sets an alarming precedent.

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In Seawater, Researchers See an Untapped Bounty of Critical Metals – by Jim Robbins (Yale Environment 360 – May 15, 2024)

https://e360.yale.edu/

Researchers and companies are aiming to draw key minerals, including lithium and magnesium, from ocean water, desalination plant residue, and industrial waste brine. They say their processes will use less land and produce less pollution than mining, but major hurdles remain.

Can metals that naturally occur in seawater be mined, and can they be mined sustainably? A company in Oakland, California, says yes. And not only is it extracting magnesium from ocean water — and from waste brine generated by industry — it is doing it in a carbon-neutral way.

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The Tiny Nation at the Vanguard of Mining the Ocean Floor – by Pete McKenzie (New York Times – May 9, 2024)

https://www.nytimes.com/

Below the waters of the Cook Islands, population 15,000, lie minerals used to power electric cars. Extracting them could bring riches, but many say it’s a bad idea.

Two ships arrived in the Cook Islands in the South Pacific in March of last year. One was a familiar sight: a massive cruise ship, bringing hundreds of tourists to the pristine shores of this nation of 15,000 people. The other, a neon-orange vessel hauling complex scientific equipment, was more unusual.

On a nearby wharf, Prime Minister Mark Brown and many other prominent citizens had gathered to celebrate the smaller boat’s arrival. To Mr. Brown, the cruise ship represented his country’s troubling dependence on tourism. He described the other vessel, owned by an international mining company, as a harbinger of incredible wealth.

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Underwater power play for metals in full swing – by Alisha Hiyate (Northern Miner – May 2024)

https://www.northernminer.com/

Despite its stranglehold on mining and processing, there’s one arena of critical minerals that China doesn’t control – underwater resources. No one does, as deep sea mining has yet to begin. But it’s not the sci-fi fantasy it once may have seemed.

The International Seabed Authority (ISA), which next meets in July, is hashing out the world’s first underwater mining code. Deep sea mining could technically begin as soon as July, even in the absence of rules which the ISA aims to have in place by 2025.

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EU to Keep Tabs on Norway Deep Sea Mining Efforts, Sefcovic Says – by John Ainger (Bloomberg News – March 21, 2024)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

(Bloomberg) — The European Union will monitor Norway’s progress in exploring the deep sea bed for potential mining of critical raw materials as the bloc seeks to reduce its dependence on China.

Norway is one of the first countries to formally authorize seabed mining activities in its waters after its parliament backed plans in January to prospect for minerals across 280,000 square kilometers (108,000 square miles) of its Arctic continental shelf.

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From the Deep Sea to D.C.— How China Fears Have Put Ocean-Floor Mining on Washington’s Radar – by Yusuf Khan (Wall Street Journal – March 15, 2024)

https://www.wsj.com/

The possibility of harvesting the seabed is growing in popularity among lawmakers amid a push to extract rare minerals for defense applications

Mining the ocean floor for minerals often seemed like a fantasy, but U.S. national security concerns could be bringing it closer to reality.

Thousands of feet down at the bottom of the ocean, small rocks holding vast quantities of nickel, manganese and cobalt—the perfect combination of minerals to make an electric-vehicle battery—sit untouched, as high costs to reach them, a lack of research and public opposition have kept deep-sea mining a pipe dream.

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India in undersea race to mine world’s battery metal – by Navin Singh Khadka (BBC World Service – March 20, 2024)

https://www.bbc.com/

India is taking another step in its quest to find valuable minerals hidden in the depths of the ocean which could hold the key to a cleaner future. The country, which already has two deep-sea exploration licences in the Indian Ocean, has applied for two more amid increasing competition between major global powers to secure critical minerals.

Countries including China, Russia and India are vying to reach the huge deposits of mineral resources – cobalt, nickel, copper, manganese – that lie thousands of metres below the surface of oceans. These are used to produce renewable energy such as solar and wind power, electric vehicles and battery technology needed to battle against climate change.

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Japan prepares to mine its deep seabed by decade’s end – by Annelise Giseburt (Mongabay.com – March 21, 2024)

https://news.mongabay.com/

TOKYO — Japan is actively exploring pathways to mine the deep sea of its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), in an effort to lessen reliance on imported mineral resources needed for advanced and green technologies.

Aiming to be ready to mine by the late 2020s, Japan — one among just a handful of nations actively pursuing deep-sea mining within their own waters — could be among the first nations to exploit the deep sea. The country has completed multiple small-scale mining tests that it claims are world firsts, and it positions itself as a global leader in the “sustainable development” of deep-sea mining.

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Deep-sea mining talks to resume as interest swells from China to U.S. (Nikkei Asia – March 18, 2024)

https://asia.nikkei.com/

U.N. body chief hopes industry can help vulnerable states; ecosystem a concern

TOKYO — International discussions on deep-sea mining resume Monday amid growing interest in countries such as the U.S., which see resources under the oceans as a potential way of diversifying supply chains for critical minerals.

Vast reserves of materials such as copper, nickel and cobalt — now in high demand as a material in batteries and other strategic products — are believed to exist in crusts and nodules across various areas of the sea floor. Hotspots for exploration and extraction include international waters outside any country’s exclusive zone, where there is not yet a regulatory framework in place for commercial mining.

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Norway defends deep-sea mining, says it may help to break China and Russia’s rare earths stronghold – by Sam Meredith (CNBC.com January 29, 2024)

https://www.cnbc.com/

Norway says its controversial decision to approve deep-sea mining is a necessary step into the unknown that could help to break China and Russia’s rare earths dominance. In a vote earlier this month that attracted cross-party support, Norway’s parliament voted 80-20 to approve a government proposal to open a vast ocean area for commercial-scale deep-sea mining.

It makes the northern European country the first in the world to move forward with the process of extracting minerals from the seabed. Norway’s government said the practice could be one way to help facilitate the global transition away from fossil fuels, adding that every country should be exploring ways to sustainably collect metals and minerals at their disposal.

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Norway becomes first country to back deep-sea mining despite environmental concerns – by Rosie Frost (Ero News – January 11, 2024)

https://www.euronews.com/

According to a study by the Environmental Justice Foundation published on the day of the vote, deep-sea mining is not needed for the clean energy transition.

Norway has become the first country in the world to greenlight the controversial practice of deep-sea mining. A bill passed in the Norwegian Parliament on Tuesday (9 January) will accelerate the undersea hunt for minerals needed to build green technology such as batteries for electric vehicles. It authorises opening up parts of the country’s sea to mining exploration.

Around 280,000 square metres of the country’s national waters could gradually be opened up – an area nearly the size of Italy located in the Arctic between Svalbard, Greenland and Iceland.

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Deep-sea mining in the Arctic Ocean gets the green light from Norwegian lawmakers (Associated Press – December 5, 2023)

https://www.msn.com/

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Norway’s minority center-left government and two large opposition parties made a deal Tuesday to open the Arctic Ocean to seabed mineral exploration despite warnings by environmental groups that it would threaten the biodiversity of the vulnerable ecosystems in the area.

Norway said in June it wanted to open parts of the Norwegian continental shelf for commercial deep sea mining in line with the country’s strategy to seek new economic opportunities and reduce its reliance on oil and gas.

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The promise and risks of deep-sea mining – by Daisy Chung, Ernest Scheyder and Clare Trainor (Reuters – November 15, 2023)

https://www.reuters.com/

A vast treasure of critical minerals lies on the ocean floor. Should they be extracted to help fight climate change?

The International Seabed Authority is working to set regulations for deep-sea mining as companies engaged in the clean energy transition clamor for more minerals. That transition will be a central focus at the United Nations’ COP28 climate summit in Dubai from Nov. 30 to Dec. 12. The most-prominent of the three proposed types of deep-sea mining involves using a giant robot that is sent down to the ocean floor from a support vessel.

This robot travels to depths of roughly 5,000 meters to the ocean floor — the least explored place on the planet. The seafloor, especially in parts of the Pacific Ocean, is covered by potato-shaped rocks known as polymetallic nodules that are filled with metals used to make lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles.

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UN body debates proposed regulations amid pressure to allow deep-sea mining – by Dánica Coto (Associated Press/Toronto Star – October 31, 2023)

https://www.thestar.com/

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.

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‘Deep Rising’ Review: Jason Momoa Narrates a Murky Doc on Deep-Sea Mining – by Frank Scheck (The Hollywood Reporter – January 21, 2023)

 

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/

The actor also executive produced Matthieu Rytz’s film exploring the many issues concerning the mining of the ocean floor.

You can get visual whiplash while watching Matthieu Rytz’s documentary about the geopolitical, economic, social and ecological ramifications of mining the planet’s ocean floors for metals. One minute, you think you’re watching an IMAX documentary about gorgeous creatures of the deep, with enough amazingly translucent jellyfish on display to satisfy any stoner’s need for optical stimuli.

The next minute, there’s seemingly endless footage of discussions going on in corporate boardrooms, congressional hearings, investor meetings and cocktail parties, with the faces of many participants blurred out as if they were appearing on an episode of Cops.

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