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Greenpeace Takes Action Against Belgian Deep Sea Mining Company in Pacific Ocean

April 13, 2021

"The deep sea mining industry is using international infrastructure and resources as it pillages the ocean at no benefit to the environment or our communities. The preparation for these destructive practices continues to happen without the consent and input of people across the globe, including the people living in the United States."

© Marten van Dijl / Greenpeace

Eastern Central Pacific Ocean, April 13, 2021 – Greenpeace International activists peacefully protested against deep sea mining company Global Sea Mineral Resources (GSR), a subsidiary of the Belgian company DEME. On board a rigid inflatable boat, they displayed a flying banner reading  “Stop Deep Sea Mining!” in front of the ship Normand Energy, chartered by GSR. The company is currently testing mining gear roughly 1,000 nautical miles off Mexico’s west coast in the Clarion Clipperton Zone with the aim of future commercial extraction of minerals from the seabed. This new industry could cause devastating effects on the environment and people, including the livelihoods of Pacific island and coastal communities. 

An Lambrechts, Oceans Campaigner at Greenpeace Belgium, said: 

“We know less about the deep seabed than about the surface of Mars, yet the available scientific evidence is increasingly warning that deep sea mining will cause irreparable damage to the largest ecosystem of the planet. The deep ocean is teeming with life, and also acts as a vital carbon sink. Deep sea mining is a new driver for ocean destruction that can and must be stopped.” 

Last year, a Greenpeace International investigation revealed that 30 exploration contracts given out by the UN’s International Seabed Authority (ISA) for deep sea mining covered over a million square kilometres of the international seabed, an area roughly the size of France and Germany combined. The report uncovered an opaque web of corporate connections which obscure the concentration of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) exploration contracts in the hands of a few North American and European companies, like GSR, that stand to profit most from the industry.  

Arlo Hemphill, Senior Oceans Campaigner at Greenpeace USA, said: 

“The deep sea mining industry is using international infrastructure and resources as it pillages the ocean at no benefit to the environment or our communities. The preparation for these destructive practices continues to happen without the consent and input of people across the globe, including the people living in the United States. [1] As the intersecting climate and biodiversity crises facing us continue to worsen, we must recognize the importance of protecting our vast oceans. Deep sea mining is a looming threat our leaders can’t continue to condone.”

Governments must stop supporting and enabling deep sea mining through the ISA. Instead, they must ensure they put ocean protection at the heart of international ocean governance by agreeing to a strong Global Ocean Treaty that will enable the creation of a network of marine sanctuaries covering at least 30 percent of our oceans by 2030. Such a network would be the best defense for our largely unexplored ocean until international governments can reach consensus and ban the destructive practice of deep sea mining altogether. [2]

Last week, Greenpeace activists also protested at sea against the Canadian company DeepGreen, who is also currently conducting exploration activities in the Clarion Clipperton Zone in an area contracted to one of its subsidiaries, NORI.

ENDS

Notes: 

Photos of the Greenpeace’s peaceful protest are available HERE

[1] The United States is not currently party to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and therefore has no international input in deep sea mining practices, nor does it qualify for deep sea mining licenses. 

[2] To learn more about the destructive practices of deep sea mining, please see Greenpeace International’s report, In Deep Water.

Contact: 

Crystal Mojica, Greenpeace USA, [email protected], 646-530-1581

Sol Gosetti, Media Coordinator for the Protect the Oceans campaign: [email protected], +54 (11) 28313271 WhatsApp +44 (0) 7380845754

Saskia van Aalst, Comms officer on board the Rainbow Warrior [email protected] WhatsApp +31 (0)6 25031014 (only whatsapp, no cell coverage)

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