JAMAICA, Kingston ( 28 September 2018) - - “Over the next few years, I believe there will be significant opportunities for public and private industrial cooperation in many diverse fields, including exploration geology, environmental management, subsea technology, project development and financing.”
Speaking to the Hamburg Business Club about new developments in deep seabed mining, ISA Secretary-General Michael Lodge said that even though no commercial exploitation is taking place, deep sea mining remains a frontier industry with its pace increasing over the past several years including rapid development in all sectors of the industry.
“It has been a long and arduous road to turn the promise of seabed mining into commercial reality. At various times, and in various combinations, these have included technical, financial, legal and political challenges”.
“It is not enough to just have a resource. In order to promote investment, we also need technology and regulation. Technology in my view should no longer be regarded as a limiting factor”. He added that the Council of the Authority had reiterated its commitment to adopt the regulations by 2020 whilst recognizing that additional work will be required on Standards and Guidelines to support the implementation of the regulations and that many of these will evolve over time.
He also highlighted that the Convention makes it clear that, as a regulator, the Authority has the responsibility to protect the marine environment from the harmful impacts of mining and must develop environmental regulations that ensure that exploration and exploitation take place in a manner that prevents serious harm to the marine environment, both on the ocean floor and in the water column. At the same time, contractors must reduce, mitigate and, as far as possible, prevent harmful impacts and pollution that can affect wider ecosystems and habitats. These are very high environmental standards, and certainly not less than any other ocean-based industry.
In concluding, he said that seabed mining offered substantial potential for developing high-grade, abundant, mineral resources over the long term and in this context, the contribution of deep seabed mining towards increased long-term demand for minerals must be part of the overall vision for a sustainable world.