The Metals Company Joins International Consortium to Develop the First ESG Handbook for Marine Minerals
A broad international consortium has been established to develop the first handbook for Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) disclosure in relation to marine minerals. The purpose of the guidance document is to enable evidence-based assessments of the ESG performance of marine mineral projects in the context of global standards
The IEA estimates a quadrupling of the amount of critical minerals required for the energy transition to meet the sustainable development scenario by 2040. The greater our climate ambition – the greater the demand for minerals will be. The renewable energy system is far more mineral intensive than the current system powered by fossil fuels. While recycling will play an important role, increased recycling rates will be insufficient to meet the increasing demand for minerals necessary for the energy transition for at least the next couple of decades.
Marine minerals are emerging as a potential source of minerals to help meet the growing demand. As with any extractive industries, consideration of ESG issues is key to ensuring transparent and responsible supply chains. While some ESG challenges and opportunities are shared across different sources of minerals, others are unique to marine minerals.
The ESG handbook will be a guidance document to addresses material topics related to marine mineral projects in the deep-sea environment using a standardized approach.
The need for creating a tailored ESG handbook for marine mineral mining is to specifically address the unique material topics of this new industry and provide guidance for companies to disclose ESG performance of their operations in a consistent manner. The handbook will build upon existing broad ESG reporting standards such as GRI and CDP, and industry specific standards such as IRMA (The Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance) and Towards Sustainable Mining. The handbook seeks to become a useful disclosure guidance tool for companies, and to enable internal and external stakeholders to access this data in a format that is consistent across the ESG disclosure world. The handbook will not drive any legal framework and is not intended to be used as a compliance tool.
The development of this handbook is also intended to promote ESG thinking and improvements before any commercial activity begins.
The handbook will be based on a collective input from all the collaborating institutions. Furthermore, the project will invite other stakeholders to open hearings and meetings to enable a wider input to the work. The project is open to enter for other collaborating institutions and sponsors.
The project was initiated by GCE Ocean Technology (Norway) and Fórum Oceano (Portugal) in 2021, both being members of the BlueTech Cluster Alliance. DNV performed a scoping of the work from Q4-21 to Q2-22, that was funded by GCE Ocean Technology. The aim is to finalise the project by the end of 2023.
The projects reference group consists of the following companies and organisation:
- Adepth Minerals
- Advisory Committee on Protection of the Sea (ACOPS)
- Aker BP
- AU Commission and the African Minerals Development Centre (AMDC)
- DeepSea Mining Alliance (DSMA)
- Fearnley Securities
- Fórum Oceano
- GCE Ocean Technology
- Global Sea Mineral Resources (GSR, part of the DEME group)
- Guangzhou Geological Survey (GMGS) / China Geological Survey (CGS)
- INESC TEC
- International Marine Minerals Society (IMMS)
- Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC)
- Loke Marine Minerals
- MiningImpact project
- Norwegian Forum for Marine Minerals (NMM)
- Natural History Museum, UK
- Odyssey Marine Exploration
- Pôle Mer Bretagne Atlantique
- The Metals Company (TMC)
- The Nickel Institute
- The Pacific Community (SPC)
- UK Seabed Resources
- Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (Observer status)
- International Seabed Authority (ISA) (Observer status)
The main project is sponsored by: The Metals Company, UK Seabed Resources, Aker BP, Global Sea Mineral Resources (GSR), Norwegian forum for Marine Minerals (NMM) and Equinor.
GCE Ocean Technology is the project owner, while the handbook will be prepared by DNV.
GCE Ocean Technology is a Norwegian cluster supported and co-funded by Innovation Norway, The Research Council of Norway and Siva. The cluster comprises 140 partners and members from industry, universities, R&D institutions and public entities. Its objective is to strengthen innovation to accelerate the energy transition.
DNV is an independent assurance and risk management company, with about 12 000 employees in more than 100 different countries. The purpose is to safeguard life, property and the environment. DNV empowers their customers and stakeholders with facts and reliable insights so that critical decisions can be made with confidence.