Olivia Rosane, EcoWatch
A leaked video of a deep-sea mining test showing a plume of sediment being released into the ocean is reigniting concerns about the controversial practice.
The video, shared on Youtube by Greenpeace Aotearoa on January 11, shows a vessel belonging to Canadian-based The Metals Company (TMC) siphon up wastewater from the seabed and release it into the ocean’s surface. Scientists have warned that sediment plumes from deep-sea mining could spread for hundreds of kilometers, smothering marine life and exposing it to dangerous toxins.
“Deep sea mining company The Metals Company and its operating partner, AllSeas, demonstrate a blatant disregard for the environment and to people around the world who depend on healthy oceans,” Louisa Casson of Greenpeace International’s Stop Deep Sea Mining campaign said in a statement responding to the video. “The exposure of this incident and scientists’ criticism of the companies’ approach provide yet more reasons why deep sea mining should not be allowed to start on a commercial scale.”
The ISA told The Guardian that it was waiting for a more detailed report from the company but that its first assessment “identified no threat of harm to the environment.”
But anti-mining advocates have also cast doubt on the ISA’s ability to effectively regulate deep-sea mining.
“The International Seabed Authority played a significant role in the failures of this latest deep sea mining test and has also failed to publicize the unauthorized dumping of mine waste,” Dr. Catherine Coumans of MiningWatch Canada said in a statement shared by Greenpeace. “In its rush to approve the test without following appropriate procedures, many key elements of a professional monitoring trial were lacking, including ensuring adequate access for independent observers, transparent and timely public reporting and sufficient whistleblower safeguards. This test highlights the ISA’s lack of transparency and credibility as a regulator and the very immediate risks posed by deep sea mining on marine health and biodiversity of the ocean, our global commons.”
She also expressed concern that deep-sea mining was starting out with even less oversight than its land-based counterpart.
“What we’ve seen is an unauthorised release and, in terrestrial mining, this would have consequences of some sort,” she said, as The Guardian reported.
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