Foraminifera attached to polymetallic nodule from the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone, Pacific. Image courtesy of Craig Smith, University of Hawaii, USA

Deep-sea mining is rapidly approaching the commercial mining phase in multiple oceans, both in areas within and beyond national jurisdiction. We urgently need to identify and develop comprehensive, ecosystem-based management practices for deep-ocean environments subject to mineral extraction. Transparent criteria for deep-sea institutional and corporate social responsibility also need to be established.

Proactive development of management practices, frameworks and policy prior to the onset of commercial mining will enable protection and preservation of the marine environment, whilst enabling the use of seabed mineral resources.

The DOSI Minerals Working Group constitutes a broad spectrum of scientific, industry, legal and policy expertise. As collated working group responses and as individuals, we provide expert opinion on deep-sea mining related concerns through written responses, workshops and symposia.

Current Working Group Activities

  1. The International Seabed Authority Exploitation Environmental Regulations (EREGS) Workshop, was held at SCRIPPS Institute of Oceanography Feb 1-3, 2017. The Working Paper on the Draft Regulations on Exploitation for Mineral Resources in the Area was released Jan 2017 and can be found on the ISA website. This workshop discussed the ISA Draft Environmental Regulations for Exploitation and began to formulate a plan for the Minerals WG to undertake a science-based assessment of the Draft Regulations. The first two outputs from the workshop are now available online; the EREGS Workshop Report Synopsis, and the Letter to the ISA with the comments from workshop participants. If you would like to participate in the future Minerals WG response to the Draft Regulations, please contact Verena Tunnicliffe (verenat @ uvic.ca).
  2. DOSI will be presented by WG member, Hannah Lily (Commonwealth Secretariat, London) during the Deep-Sea Mining Summit, London, May 2017.
  3. DOSI Minerals WG is planning a side-event at the 23rd Session of the International Seabed Authority, scheduled for 10th August 2017.

Recent Working Group Activities

  1. DOSI Minerals WG produce opinion piece for The Environmental Forum of the Environmental Law Institute – Link to article
  2. Letter to the ISA with comments from the EREGS Workshop participants on the Draft Regulations – Link to letter
  3. EREGS Workshop Synopsis – Link to synopsis
  4. DOSI representatives presented our EREGS work at a workshop: Towards an ISA Environmental Management Strategy for the Area, Berlin, Germany from 19-24 March 2017, jointly organized by the German Environment Agency (UBA), the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) and the ISA and supported by the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies Potsdam (IASS).  Report available here shortly.
  5. DOSI response to ISA draft exploitation regulations (ISBA/Cons/2016/1) – Link to review
  6. DOSI response to ISA review (Article 154 UNCLOS) – Link to review
  7. DOSI publication (October 2016): Levin et al. Defining “Serious Harm’ to the Marine Environment in the Context of Deep-Seabed Mining. Marine Policy  (2016), pp. 245-259. Link to paper.
  8. Workshop on Enhancing Stakeholder Participation and Transparency in the ISA Process in Ocho Rios, Jamaica (July 2016). Link to report.
  9. DOSI awarded Observer Status at the International Seabed Authority (July 2016). Link to blog.
  10. DOSI members contribute to Griffith Law School and the International Seabed Authority Workshop on Environmental Assessment and Management for Exploitation of Minerals in the Area, Australia (May 2016). Link to report.
  11. DOSI Minerals WG Past Activities Listing

Want to get involved? 

We are keen to hear from individuals who would like to actively contribute to the Minerals Working Group. If you have expertise to offer and would like to participate in this working group, please send a one paragraph summary of your background and anticipated contribution to the WG Lead: Verena Tunnicliffe (verenat @ uvic.ca).

As a working group member, if you have updates for the Minerals WG page, please contact Rachel Boschen (reboschen @ uvic.ca) or Maria Baker (mb11 @ noc.soton.ac.uk).

DOSI at the 22nd Session of the ISA having gained Observer Status, July 2016
EREGS Workshop participants (in person and online), February 2017
DOSI Representation during Berlin workshop, March 2017