Understanding The IAAS Policy
As investors focus on mineral resources deposited in deep waters, the International Seabed Authority (ISA) is currently developing regulations to govern future exploration.
A recent IASS brief in partnership with UBA offers three recommendations projected to enable future seabed mining to offer common benefit to all mankind, as the international law requires.
Authors of the brief beckon on policymakers to implement highly cautious and well planned approaches before they can approve potentially hazardous activities like seabed mining.
The ISA is working on regulations to guide the exploitation and exploration of mineral resources of the Area, or international seabed. The framework will include a financial mechanism for distributing benefits that may arise from exploitation of seafloor minerals, just as the UNCLOS sea law provides. The proposal for this process largely focuses on financial burden contractors but fails to address potential socioeconomic and environmental harms.
IASS brief offers three solid messages to engineer the growth of financial mechanisms towards more sustainable outcomes while ensuring that revenues derived from mining deep-sea are overseen for mankind’s sale.
The messages are:
1. Reveals The Risks To Deep-sea Habitat
The wide ocean represents an intricate environment providing various ecosystem benefits. A solid system of accounting based on real cost and raw wealth is required to seize effects on ecosystem stability and specify any likely financial privileges. The financial means should indicate all costs as well as hazards related to mining in the said Area.
2. Always Consider Stakeholder Interests
The payment administration must be organized with attention and be adequately responsive to growing priorities and concerns of various stakeholders, including civil and indigenous actors, and generations unborn.
3. Deliver Optimal Returns To Humankind
The payment administration must be planned with Humankind interest and particularly of developing nations, and not the contractors, at the center. Guaranteeing optimal returns needs a financial standard that provides best feasible cost patterns and timing.
Why Is This Important?
Today, several large mineral corporations in our world have undertaken underwater mining projects. On the west seaside of Africa, De Beers is using fleets of specialized vessels to pull machinery across seabeds searching for diamonds. And in 2018, these vessels took out 1.4million carats from Namibia’s coastal waters; in 2019, De it designated a new ship to scrape the bottom two times faster than any vessel. Nautilus Minerals, another company, is in the Papua NewGuinea territorial waters to break down a region of hot underwater springs lined with precious pieces of metals. Likewise, South Korea and Japan have undertaken nationwide operations to exploit their deposits far offshore.
These activities have severe environmental impacts and there are many ocean research literature attesting to these deleterious effects. It is for this reason that the IAAS Brief is not significant, but could have come at a better time.