Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA) Ghana have joined the global call for a moratorium on deep seabed mining during an African dialogue on deep seabed mining which took place last Thursday in Accra.
Commercial deep-sea mining is a new threat that looms for our already imperiled ocean. If allowed to go ahead, research shows that it would irreversibly destroy ancient deep-sea habitats, impact those who derive their livelihoods from the ocean (for example from fisheries), and risk disturbing the planet’s biggest carbon sink.
Gideon Sarpong, Hub Leader at SOA Ghana explained that deep seabed mining poses an “unjustified threat to the health of our ocean, the climate and the present and future generations.”
He also called on the Africa Group representing the continent at the International Seabed Authority to “unambiguously represent the interest of people across the continent by joining the call for a moratorium” unless and until a number of conditions around environmental harm, good governance and social license can be met.
Duncan Currie, environmental lawyer and member of the Deep-Sea Conservation Coalition also called for reforms at the International Seabed Authority, the body that is mandated to regulate deep seabed mining explaining that terrestrial mining as it currently stands can power the renewable revolution.
“The argument is made that we need these minerals for a renewable revolution but this is simply not true, you cannot say there are not enough minerals both on land and in circulation to provide the minerals we need for renewable revolution” he said, adding, “once seabed mining starts there will be a massive industrial mining on the bottom of the ocean and we will have terrestrial mining alongside. Let us be real.”
The ISA, he explained has a conflict-of-interest issue. “There is a conflict-of-interest issue at the ISA as a regulator as well as a potential beneficiary of hundreds and thousands of billions of dollars,” he said.
“This certainly needs to be addressed. We suggest a moratorium is best, backed by another implanting agreement. You will need to separate the regulator and the body the receives the royalty.”
Phil McCabe, an ocean campaigner and member of Deep-Sea Conversation Coalition also described the proposed deep seabed mining as “completely inappropriate.”
“It is completely an inappropriate activity given the dire state of the environment in general. If you look at the ocean, every measurable indicator of the ocean health is in decline and we are talking about adding another pressure, another stressor, it is crazy,” he said.
SOA African hubs ultimately aim to galvanize stakeholder support to ensure that the youth’s position on deep-seabed moratorium clearly represented by the Africa group before irreparable damage is done.
Source: SOA Ghana