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Mining Is A Menace to Marine Life — Protect Ocean Ecosystems

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Sponsor: Free The Ocean

Thousands of unknown species thrive beneath the Pacific waves, but deep-sea mining poses an imminent threat. Take Action!


Over 5,500 previously unknown species are thriving beneath the waves of the mineral-rich Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ) in the Pacific Ocean. These incredible creatures face an imminent threat from deep-sea mining operations[1. We cannot stand idly by as this delicate marine ecosystem faces irreversible damage.

In a study published in the prestigious journal Current Biology1, scientists have shed light on the biodiversity hotspot in the CCZ, spanning over 5,000 km between Hawaii and Mexico. Astonishingly, this study reports that a staggering 88% to 92% of the species identified in this area have never been encountered before1. These newly discovered species represent an invaluable part of our planet's natural heritage, and we have a responsibility to protect them.

Deep-sea mining companies have set their sights on the CCZ, eager to extract essential battery materials like cobalt, copper, nickel, and manganese from the ocean floor3. These valuable resources are found in "polymetallic nodules," potato-sized rocks resting at depths of 4 to 6 km2. However, such mining operations pose a significant threat to the delicate balance of the marine ecosystem.

Countries such as Brazil, the Netherlands, Portugal, Singapore, and Switzerland have taken a stand, asserting that they will not approve any mining contracts until stringent environmental safeguards for the seabed are in place3. They understand the importance of prioritizing the protection of the marine ecosystem over short-term mining interests. Norway, renowned for its commitment to environmental stewardship, can lead by example and join this coalition of nations advocating for responsible deep-sea mining practices.

Disturbingly, China is intensifying efforts to join the deep-sea mining race for critical minerals, disregarding commitments made by prominent companies such as Google and automakers BMW, Renault, Volkswagen, and Volvo, who have pledged to avoid using deep-sea metals for now4. We cannot allow short-term gain to outweigh the long-term preservation of our oceans and the unique life they harbor.

Established in 1994, the ISA was tasked with regulating mining in international waters while safeguarding the marine environment5. However, despite efforts such as the UN High Seas Treaty, nearly 200 member countries, supporters of seabed mining remain undeterred6. The ISA now faces a pivotal moment. We must hold them accountable to ensure that comprehensive environmental safeguards are in place before any deep-sea mining operations commence.

Share this urgent message with your friends, family, and colleagues. Together, we can amplify our voices and create a powerful movement that demands responsible deep-sea mining practices.

By signing the pledge below, you send a powerful message to the Government of Norway, urging them to implement stringent environmental safeguards for deep-sea mining.

We implore Norway to prioritize the protection of the delicate marine ecosystem over short-term mining interests. Let us stand together and demand responsible practices that preserve our oceans' precious biodiversity for future generations.

Sign the Pledge Now!

More on this issue:

  1. Muriel Rabone, Joris H. Wiethase, Erik Simon-Lledó, Helena Wiklund, Tammy Horton, Adrian G. Glover, Current Biology (25 May 2023), "How many metazoan species live in the world’s largest mineral exploration region?"
  2. Bethany Dawson, Yahoo! News (3 June 2023), "A pristine region of the Pacific Ocean targeted for deep-sea mining contains 5,000 new marine species, say scientists."
  3. Todd Woody, Bloomberg (7 November 2022), "More Governments Are Turning Against the Rush to Mine the Deep Sea."
  4. Frik Els, Mining.com (16 March 2023), "China to step up deep sea mining efforts."
  5. Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, International Seabed Authority (ISA) (2023), "Deep–Sea Mining Negotiations ISA Tracker."
  6. Jackie Gu, Reuters (30 March 2023), "Changing Tides."
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The Petition:

To Norway's Minister of Climate and the Environment,

We, the undersigned, concerned citizens and advocates for the protection of our oceans and marine life, write this petition to implore the Government of Norway to take a principled stand and prioritize the safeguarding of the delicate marine ecosystem over short-term mining interests. We urge you to follow the examples set by countries like Brazil, the Netherlands, Portugal, Singapore, and Switzerland, which have committed not to approve any deep-sea mining contracts until stringent environmental safeguards for the seabed are in place.

The deep sea, with its remarkable biodiversity and fragile ecosystems, is facing an imminent threat from the burgeoning deep-sea mining industry. Norway, a nation renowned for its commitment to environmental stewardship, has an opportunity to lead by example and ensure that responsible practices govern any future deep-sea mining activities.

We believe that stringent environmental safeguards are essential before approving any mining contracts in the deep sea. The potential consequences of these operations on the marine environment are too grave to overlook. The delicate balance of marine life, including the newly discovered and unknown species teeming beneath the waves, is at stake. By enacting comprehensive safeguards, Norway can help protect these invaluable treasures from irreversible harm.

Countries such as Brazil, the Netherlands, Portugal, Singapore, and Switzerland have recognized the importance of safeguarding the marine environment and have taken a stand against hasty deep-sea mining approvals. We implore Norway to join this growing coalition of nations and uphold the principles of environmental protection and sustainable development.

We understand the economic potential that deep-sea mining holds for Norway, as it does for many other countries. However, we firmly believe that this potential must be pursued responsibly and with utmost consideration for the long-term health and well-being of our oceans. By prioritizing environmental safeguards, Norway can ensure that any future mining activities in the deep sea are conducted in a manner that minimizes ecological harm and respects the delicate balance of marine ecosystems.

We, the undersigned, urge the Government of Norway to:

  1. Refrain from approving any deep-sea mining contracts until stringent environmental safeguards for the seabed are in place.
  2. Prioritize the protection of the delicate marine ecosystem over short-term mining interests.
  3. Engage in scientific research and collaboration to better understand the potential impacts of deep-sea mining and establish effective mitigation measures.
  4. Support and advocate for international cooperation and the development of binding regulations to govern deep-sea mining activities.
  5. Promote sustainable alternatives to deep-sea mining, such as recycling and responsible mining practices on land, to reduce the need for seabed extraction.

We believe that by taking a strong stance on environmental protection and demonstrating leadership in sustainable practices, Norway can pave the way for a responsible and ecologically sound approach to deep-sea mining. Let us be remembered as stewards of the oceans, safeguarding their precious biodiversity for future generations.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

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Signatures: