The UK government has announced its support for measures designed to protect the world’s ocean and improve the conservation of marine biodiversity.
Ahead of International Seabed Authority (ISA) negotiations and a month ahead of COP28, the UK government has announced its support for a moratorium on the granting of exploitation licences for deep sea mining projects – which involve the extraction of minerals such as precious metals, copper and cobalt – by the ISA.
This means the UK will not sponsor or support the issuing of any such licences until sufficient scientific evidence is available to assess the potential impact of deep sea mining activities on marine ecosystems and strong, enforceable environmental regulations, standards and guidelines have been developed and adopted by the ISA.
The UK is an international advocate for the highest possible environmental standards and has been pushing the ISA to develop strong and enforceable environmental regulations, standards and guidelines on deep sea mining.
To support this, a new UK-based environmental science expert network on deep sea mining will be launched to gather scientific data and increase the effective use of the UK’s world-class research through cross-disciplinary learning. This will build on the independent evidence review on deep sea mining carried out by independent experts following a government commission in 2022.
The network will bring together the UK’s environmental science expertise to help fill the current evidence gaps on the environmental impact of deep sea mining and share internationally.