For more than a century we have ripped apart the land, exploiting it beyond its limits in our insatiable quest for gold, silver, copper, manganese, cobalt, nickel, rare earth elements and other minerals. Now the mining industry plans to move into the deep sea.
With the risk for irreversible and significant environmental impacts, and socio-economic benefits that are uncertain and inevitably short term, deep-sea mining imposes a serious threat to global sustainability. Deep-sea mining has no place in the worlds Agenda 2030 for sustainable development. The precautionary principle means we must prioritise sustainable alternatives and avoid locking our economy into this high risk technology.
Alternatives to deep-sea mining are available, and can be found in the transition of economies towards more sustainable approaches. Reducing the demand for raw materials through better product design, sharing, re-use, repairing and recycling, the development of new materials, a transition to smart energy and mobility systems and structural changes in consumption patterns and lifestyles are key to the solution.
Up to 90% of the world's electronic waste is illegally traded or dumped. Every year in the EU, 100 million mobile phones go unused, less than 10% are recycled. This represents an enormous quantity of gold and other metals gone to waste. These figures indicate the huge potential of policies to increase resource efficiency world-wide, and the importance of focusing on e.g. urban mining instead of deep-sea mining.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and in particular SDG 12 Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns, and SDG 14 Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources set the global frame for rethinking our economy. Unless we stop and think, we risk squandering one of our most precious ecosystems, which has a vital role to play in the health of our planet, for an obsolete dream of boundless growth.
A Seas At Risk leaflet Deep sea mining? Stop and think! outlines our arguments why deep sea mining has no place in the worlds Agenda 2030 for sustainable development. Our video Deep sea mining: leave my down below alone was viewed more than 3,000 times, showing a wide interest in our position.
Seas At Risk commits to
Reduce EU and international support for deep sea mining by advocating circular economy alternatives
Reduce EU Member State support for deep sea mining
Raise public awareness about deep sea mining
By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient 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
Deep sea mining concerns are mainstreamed in a number of related NGO campaigns on sustainable production and consumption
International organisations working on resource efficiency and sustainable consumption and production are aware of deep sea mining concerns
A number of private companies express their support for our campaign
Communication material produced and disseminated and disseminated to wide range of stakeholders