Negotiations on deep-sea mining ended with no agreement, meaning that less than a year remains before a legal clause kicks in that could see seabed mining commence without any environmental or economic regulations in place. Three weeks of discussions ended in a stalemate.
Spain, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Chile called on the International Seabed Authority (ISA) – the UN body that oversees mining in international waters, to slow or halt the race towards deep-sea mining, while Micronesia became the first country to officially propose a moratorium. Other countries, including the UK, are pushing for the regulations to be in place as soon as possible. In July 2021 when the Pacific nation of Nauru declared its plan to start seabed mining.
Pradeep Singh, fellow at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies in Potsdam, Germany, said that contractors such as Nauru Ocean Resources Inc, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Metals Company (formerly DeepGreen, one of the most prominent firms lining up to start mining the ocean floor for rare minerals), could be granted interim approval of their exploitation plans.