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United Nations to Begin Accepting Applications for Deep-Sea Mining

United Nations to Begin Accepting Applications for Deep-Sea Mining

Eco-activists hardest hit. And guess which country is a leader in deep-sea mining!

While I do cover a great deal of space news for Legal Insurrection, I would also like to note that the deep sea is a vastly under-explored frontier. Given all the pseudoscience published about the “climate crisis,” the importance of understanding our ocean, locating new resources, and determining its complex influence on our climate should be prioritized.

To put this in perspective:

Thousands have climbed Mount Everest, and a handful of people have walked on the moon. But reaching the lowest part of the ocean? Only three people have ever done that, and one was a U.S. Navy submariner.

Technologies have improved dramatically in recent years, including the ability to direct remote work. Now the United Nations has made a move that may help this process: It is beginning to accept applications for deep-sea mining….because of the demands for metals associated with battery production.

Deep-sea mining would extract cobalt, copper, nickel, and manganese – key battery materials – from potato-sized rocks called “polymetallic nodules” on the ocean’s floor at depths of 4 to 6 km (2.5 to 4 miles). They are abundant in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ) between Hawaii and Mexico in the North Pacific Ocean.

The ISA’s governing council formulated a draft decision on Thursday after a meeting in Jamaica that allows companies to file permit applications starting on July 9, a deadline set in motion by actions the island nation of Nauru took in 2021, according to a copy seen by Reuters.

The ISA’s staff would then have three business days to inform the council. According to the document, the council plans to meet virtually before July to debate whether approval of such applications could be delayed once received.

The move is fascinating, especially in light of the enormous outcry among eco-activists.

However, some in the green energy industry appreciate the need for actual materials to produce their technologies.

Europe must be prepared to support deep-sea mining if it is to secure metals crucial to making the transition to clean energy, the new Norwegian owner of British industry hopeful UK Seabed Resources has warned.

Hans Olav Hide, chair of Norway’s Loke Marine Minerals, said the controversial practice could help the UK and EU compete in the face of China’s dominance of battery metal supply chains.

“Marine minerals are a very clear response to the geopolitical scene,” Hide said, referring to western governments’ focus on energy security since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “People are realising we need to get away from . . . China covering everything.”

However, China is a leader in deep-sea mining exploration and does not appear to be letting up on its quest for marine resources anytime soon.

China will pay more attention to the research and development of techniques and equipment used for deep-sea mining, according to a senior researcher in the country’s shipbuilding industry.

“Deep-sea mining has become a new frontier for international competition in science, technology, resources and industries, because there are a lot of polymetallic nodules on ocean floors that contain rich concentrations of nickel, copper, manganese and cobalt, which are essential to the renewable energy industry,” said Ye Cong, deputy director of the China Ship Scientific Research Center in Wuxi, Jiangsu province.

“A large proportion of these metals, which are extensively used in Chinese factories, need to be imported. Mining them from the seabed will help us reduce the heavy reliance on foreign suppliers,” said Ye, who is a member of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

Green activists can clamor for “environmentally friendly” technology all they want. However, the unintended consequence of all those demands is that one of the leading global polluters is now setting itself up to be the monopoly on those resources needed to create green energy equipment.

In the meantime, scientists have filmed a fish swimming at extreme depth in the ocean, making it the deepest observation of this nature that has ever been made.

In historic action, fish have been caught more than 5 miles under the ocean’s surface and filmed even deeper by a joint Australian-Japanese scientific expedition.

The expedition’s chief scientist Alan Jamieson posted on Twitter Monday two snailfish were caught in traps set about 5 miles underwater in the Iza-Ogasawara Trench, south of Japan.

Jamison, professor at The Oceans Institute and the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Western Australia, said both the catch and filming took place during a two-month voyage by a team from the University of Western Australia and the Tokyo University of Marine Science.

It turns out that snailfish are extraordinarily adaptable.

…[T]he snailfish group have also adapted to life in the cold waters of the Arctic and Antarctic, and also under the extreme pressure conditions that exist in the world’s deepest trenches.

At 8km down, they are experiencing more than 80 megapascals, or 800 times the pressure at the ocean surface.

Their gelatinous bodies help them survive.

Not having a swim bladder, the gas-filled organ to control buoyancy that is found in many other fish, is an additional advantage.

Likewise, their approach to food – they are suction feeders and consume tiny crustaceans, of which there are many in trenches.

Those fish could be getting a lot of company very soon.


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Why would the UN have anything to do with this at all?

    henrybowman in reply to geronl. | April 7, 2023 at 7:23 pm

    Yeah, that was my first thought. I reject every instance in which an organization formed as an intergovernmental debating and diplomacy society tries to act as if it were an extraterritorial government entity with legislative powers over national citizens.

    But I’m assuming this activity is in “international waters” which no country owns. In which case, it makes a certain amount of sense for world governments to come together to at least try to agree on what is and isn’t permitted in them.

    A fully libertarian solution would have no “international waters” to begin with, because they are classical “commons.” And the Japanese fishing fleet has exposed that particular version of the tragedy of the commons.

    healthguyfsu in reply to geronl. | April 8, 2023 at 12:50 am

    Because some people listen to them…a huge problem, among many with a group like this, is that the badly behaving countries don’t give a damn what they say. The UN’s response is to lose motivation to chastise them rather than actually do anything about it. The feckless UN will then go on to punish the better behaving countries (relatively speaking) in order to appear relevant. KInda reminds me of the NCAA.

    Q in reply to geronl. | April 9, 2023 at 9:08 am

    My guess is that the UN sees this as an opportunity to openly solicit and accept huge bribes and payoffs.

It’s not enough to kill whales and eagles, got to go full Metal jacket and destroy everything in site

Not sure what could go wrong, but most assuredly , much will….

    healthguyfsu in reply to gonzotx. | April 8, 2023 at 12:52 am

    You realize that deep-sea mining is a good thing for tech dev for a variety of reasons, right?

    You might as well be against pipelines, too. Rare earth minerals are for more than just solar panels.

The sea bed is mostly empty — until you find a whale corpse, which supports a whole ecosystem.

Why the hell would we be submitting applications to the UN. There’s no need for that laughably corrupt craphole of an organization to be involved.

Blaise MacLean | April 7, 2023 at 8:33 pm

From where does the UN get jurisdiction to receive/assess applications and grant licenses?

BierceAmbrose | April 8, 2023 at 7:44 pm

Are we more worried about stirring up Deep Sevens, UFOs, or Kaiju by doing this?

Also, what does the King of Atlantis have to say about this? Nott great when Talks to Fishes getts mad at us land dwellers when we’re at sea.