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Deep-sea mining is a watery wild west

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece here in The Financial Times or enjoy below

🗞️ Driving the news: On Sunday, a UN deadline expired without reaching an agreement on finalising regulations over deep-sea mining in international waters, which could trigger a rush to the ocean floor for mining licenses

🔭 The context: The deep sea has been considered for its extractive potential since the 1960s, especially areas like the Clarion-Clipperton Zone in the Pacific Ocean

This area contains trillions of "polymetallic nodules" rich in manganese, nickel, copper, and cobalt, which are used in rechargeable batteries for electric vehicle

🌎 Why does it matter for the planet: Deep-sea mining could have an irreversible impact on marine habitats and potentially disrupt carbon stores that have been locked away for millennia
• The deep sea's diverse, yet largely unknown, marine life makes the impacts of mining potentially unpredictable

⏭️ What's next: With the deadline expired, the International Seabed Authority (ISA) will meet to discuss the next steps
• Countries like Norway, China, and India favor deep-sea extraction, with others like France and the UK holding exploration licenses but not currently supporting commercial mining

💬 One quote: "Vast areas of the seabed might be changed forever, and we can't restore it once it's lost," (Kirsten Thompson, an ecologist at Exeter University)

📝 One fact: The abyssal plain in the equatorial Pacific, over 4km down, contains trillions of "polymetallic nodules" rich in minerals crucial for green technologies

Click for more news covering the latest on Environmental Sustainability

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