New Report Exposes the Global Risks of Deep Sea Mining


December 9, 2020

The shadowy deep sea mining industry is on course to cause irreversible impacts on deep sea ecosystems to benefit a wealthy few.

© Greenpeace / Gavin Newman

9 December, 2020 – An exclusive Greenpeace International report reveals for the first time who is behind the controversial deep sea mining industry. The report shows who stands to benefit and who is left at risk if governments allow deep sea mining exploitation to begin. The analysis tracks the ownership and beneficiaries of private companies who are behind calls to open up the seabed to commercial mining. The investigation uncovers a web of subsidiaries, sub-contractors, and murky partnerships whose ultimate decision-makers and those in line to profit are based overwhelmingly in the Global North — while the states sponsoring these companies, largely countries in the Global South, are exposed to liability and financial risk.

Arlo Hemphill, from the Protect the Oceans campaign, said:

“Despite the U.N. Law of the Sea naming the International Seabed Area as ‘Common Heritage of Humankind,’ the shadowy deep sea mining industry is on course to cause irreversible impacts on deep sea ecosystems to benefit a wealthy few. Deep sea mining not only poses a dangerous threat to biodiversity and the global carbon cycle, but the consequences if this mining goes forward would disproportionately affect the most marginalized among us. This report makes it explicitly clear that world leaders must establish a Global Ocean Treaty in 2021 that will allow us to safeguard international waters from destructive industry practices, something not currently possible under international law.”


Photos can be downloaded here.


[1] Download the Deep Trouble: the Murky World of the Deep Sea Mining Industry report here .

[2] Greenpeace and scientists are calling for a Treaty that can create a network of ocean sanctuaries covering at least a third of the global oceans by 2030. For more information see Protect the Global Oceans: Why We Need a Global Ocean Treaty. The fourth round of negotiation at the UN towards a treaty covering international waters should take place in 2021. 

[3] Arlo Hemphill is an senior oceans campaigner at Greenpeace USA.


Crystal Mojica, Senior Communications Specialist, Greenpeace USA: [email protected], 646-530-1581 


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