New Ocean Mining Study Stresses Sustainable Practices

In cooperation with the Heinrich Böll Foundation, an international team of researchers from the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) has published a new study calling for coordinated efforts to develop alternative approaches to exploit deep seafloor resources.

The international community is currently developing a legal framework for the management of deep seabed mining in areas beyond national jurisdiction. According to an international team of authors from the IASS, TMG – ThinkTank for Sustainability, the University of Auckland, and Globelaw, prior to agreeing such a framework, and before potentially harmful mining activities could commence, States need to achieve a common global understanding of the rights and obligations of different actors regarding the seafloor.

The future governance of these areas, the authors argue, should be guided by their internationally recognized status as a “common heritage of mankind.” In light of this, particular consideration must be given to the conservation of ecosystems and the question of whether and how deep seafloor resources could be used sustainably.

The study makes a case for greater coordination to ensure that the development of a legal framework for deep seafloor mining under the auspices of the International Seabed Authority – the institution responsible for managing activities in marine areas beyond national jurisdiction – do not conflict with ongoing UN negotiations for a new international agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity.

Read the complete study.