Greenpeace: Stop Deep Sea Mining Before It Begins

Photo-illustration: Unsplash (Jakob Owens)

In March 2021, the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior set sail to a place called the Clarion Clipperton Zone in the Pacific Ocean to stop an emerging ocean threat – deep sea mining – before it begins.

I joined the ship as a digital campaigner – to bear witness and expose a destructive industry in the making, and share it on digital channels to help bring the story to people worldwide.

The risky business of deep sea mining aims to extract minerals from polymetallic nodules from several thousand metres below sea level. If allowed to go ahead, this would cause huge damage to the great wildlife of the deep sea and threaten the livelihoods of the Pacific Islanders who depend upon the ocean for survival.

What’s more, the deep sea is an important “carbon sink” (a place where carbon is stored), and the disturbance of it could exacerbate climate change.

Leading deep sea mining companies including The Metals Company – formerly known as DeepGreen – from Canada and the US, and Global Sea Mineral Resources (GSR) from Belgium are now doing tests to prepare for deep sea mining in the Clarion Clipperton Zone in the Pacific. GSR has already sent its prototype mining robot down to the sea floor for functional tests and impact trials.

The Metals Company and GSR both talk up their green credentials. They claim that we need deep sea mining for a sustainable future, to supply the batteries needed to build our next new phones. However, tech giants including Google and car companies including BMW have already  publicly announced that they are rejecting metals sourced from deep sea mining.

What’s more, both companies are using the name of science to prepare for the exploitative, environmentally destructive activities. This is one of the most important reasons why the Rainbow Warrior is now out here in this remote area of the ocean: to expose what is actually happening. By bearing witness, we want to show the world what’s really happening and not take the companies’ PR at face value.

It’s not just Greenpeace that thinks this is a risky industry – scientists around the world agree the deep sea mining industry will cause huge impacts on the environment. So in the Pacific we took action and painted “RISK” on GSR’s vessel, to warn the industry and the public of the environmental and operational risks involved in putting a 25-tonne machine 4,500 meters below sea level.

Believe me, it brings me no pleasure to tell you that just a few days later that message was shown to be absolutely right.

You can read the whole article HERE.

Author: Kelly Huang

Source: Greenpeace