United Nations
Ensuring a Precautionary Approach to Deep Sea Mining
by Oasis Earth (Non-governmental organization (NGO))
Along with other marine scientists and conservationists, we will continue to advise governments, the U.N., industry, and Civil Society on most effective methods to achieve a rigorous Precautionary Approach to Deep Sea Mining.

We recommend the Precautionary Approach to Deep Sea Mining be required in ISA and member state regulation, and include the following core elements:

1. Stringent Prescriptive / Performance-based Regulation with Best Available Technology

2. Rigorous Environmental Risk Reduction Standards - reducing environmental risk of DSM to "As Low As Possible" (ALAP).

3. Certificate of Scientific Assurance: We will develop a Certificate of Scientific Assurance (CSA) protocol by which DSM Applicants develop, prove, and represent beyond reasonable doubt that they have comprehensively characterized the ecosystems they propose to operate within, and thus understand all potential impacts. This Certificate of Scientific Assurance would constitute a fundamentally new level of social and environmental responsibility in resource management globally. The CSA would legally commit an Applicant that it has clearly identified all species, genetic resources, and the ecology and complexity of the ecosystems within the proposed mining lease area; species life histories, growth and reproduction, larval dispersion, recruitment, sensitivities to disturbance, toxicology; and ecological relationships between all species and habitats within their proposed lease area. This understanding must include a sufficiently long time-series data set (10-years minimum), over sufficient spatial scales with which to fully understand ecosystem variability.

4. Scientific Advisory Committee: We will advise Stakeholders on the need to develop, participate in, and fund an independent Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) that would peer review all aspects, documents, and proposals.

5. Citizens Advisory Councils: We will assist in the development of Citizens Advisory Councils (CACs) comprised of Stakeholders not directly affiliated with ISA Members, DSM Applicants/Contractors, or coastal state governments.

6. Technology Readiness Level (TRL) Assessment: We will continue to advise governments and DSM Applicants on the concept of Technological Readiness Level (TRL) as developed by NASA in the U.S., and encourage that at TRL of at least 7 or higher (on a scale of 1-9), be achieved before exploitation permits are authorized (https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/heo/scan/engineering/technology/txt_accordion1.html).

7. Threshold Criteria: We will continue to develop specific threshold criteria with which mining permit applications are evaluated. Such criteria would seek to avoid damage that constitutes "serious harm to the marine environment" as stipulated by UNCLOS.

8. Mitigation: We will continue to work with all parties in developing potential environmental mitigation or offsets for unavoidable environmental harm caused by its operations. To the maximum extent possible, all risk and impact should be eliminated from the project, but any residual risk/impact must be fully and effectively mitigated or offset.

9. Mineral Use efficiency: We will continue to work with all parties to contribute to a significant improvement in the efficiency of mineral use in the global economy, ultimately achieving closed-loop supply chains eliminating the need to continue mining raw minerals.

Unless and until this rigorous Precautionary Approach can be met by industry and governments, we will respectfully continue to recommend a Moratorium on Deep Sea Mining in national and international waters.
Progress reports
By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution
Type of commitment
OTHER POLLUTANTS (please specify)
  • Other (please specify): bathypelagic sediment plume pollution
By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
Type of commitment
  • Ecosystem-based Adaptation
Jan 1, 2020
Comprehensive Guide for Precautionary Approach to DSM
Jan 1. 2020
Draft Regulation requiring Precautionary Approach to Deep Sea Mining
Staff / Technical expertise
We will continue to provide scientific and technical advice to ISA, UN, coastal states, industry, and Civil Society in developing and implementing this Precautionary Approach to Deep Sea Mining
Basic information
Time-frame: July 1, 2017 - Jan 1, 2020
Oasis Earth, and other Civil Society Organizations interested in sustainable seas
Ocean Basins
  • Global
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
All marine resource user groups -- including fishing, conservation, Indigenous Peoples
Contact information
Richard Steiner, Director, Oasis Earth; Professor and Marine Conservation Biologist, richard.g.steiner@gmail.com, +1-907-360-4503
Anchorage, Alaska USA
Other SDGs
United Nations