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“Stop deep sea mining, not protests”, Greenpeace demands regulator

Kingston, Jamaica – Governments gather to debate deep sea mining amid growing public resistance, as the 29th session of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) starts today in Kingston, Jamaica. The meeting is a critical moment for the future of the oceans as deep sea mining companies are pressing governments to agree on a mining code that would legitimise this destructive practice.

The ISA Council has also included Greenpeace International’s 200-hour peaceful protest against industry frontrunner The Metals Company in its Provisional Agenda, expected to be discussed on Friday. This comes after ISA Secretary-General Michael Lodge argued that Greenpeace International’s kayaks paddling around the industry’s vessel posed a “threat of serious harm to the marine environment”. Lodge has been previously criticised by governments for trying to accelerate the start of deep sea mining and for banning media from chambers.

Greenpeace International spokesperson Louisa Casson says, “If Michael Lodge had put as much effort into properly scrutinising deep sea mining companies and ensuring transparent negotiations as he has chasing dissent, a pristine ecosystem would have a fair chance to remain undisturbed. How can Greenpeace’s activists paddling on kayaks be a threat to the environment, but the plundering of the oceans be a solution to the climate catastrophe?”

Greenpeace International will host a side event at the ISA on the right to protest at 6 pm local time today, featuring comments from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights and the Special Rapporteur on Environmental Defenders under the Aarhus Convention.

As part of ongoing attempts by industry and a handful of governments to rush the adoption of regulations, the ISA released a 225-page “consolidated text” of the draft mining regulations as the basis for negotiations in this meeting. However, several industry proposals have been incorporated into the text without the agreement of governments or clear attribution, including efforts to weaken conservation language and speed up the start of mining.[1]

A year ago, only a handful of governments were calling for a moratorium, and the deep sea mining industry was certain it would get the green light to start mining in 2024. But their bet backfired as the call for a moratorium has grown exponentially among governments, with 24 nations now arguing we need to listen to science and safeguard our oceans.

“Over the past year, it’s been outstanding to see the growing call for a moratorium from countries in the Pacific, Europe and Latin America. Responsible nations at the ISA are listening to the mounting science that shows deep sea mining would cause irreversible damage to the oceans. The Metals Company and startups like it, don’t have the time or the interest, for a serious and transparent debate. The momentum is on the side of a moratorium”, said Casson.

A global movement of over 2 million people is calling on governments to make history by voting for a moratorium on deep sea mining. Discussions on this will take place in July at the ISA Assembly made up of 167 States plus the European Union.