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

  • After the Initial Discussion Paper on Draft Environmental Regulations was released in late January, the International Seabed Authority is currently assessing comments to issue a Draft later this year. If you would like to participate in the future Minerals WG response to the Draft Regulations, please contact Verena Tunnicliffe (verenat @ uvic.ca).
  • DOSI Minerals WG is planning a side-event at the 23rd Session of the International Seabed Authority, scheduled for 10th August 2017.
  • Please join us for DOSI Day, including a Minerals Working Group breakout, at the Chemosynthetic Based Ecosystems meeting in Woods Hole. The date is August 27, 2017.

Recent Working Group Activities

  • DOSI was represented by WG member, Hannah Lily (Commonwealth Secretariat, London) during the Deep-Sea Mining Summit, London, UK (May 2017).
  • DOSI Minerals WG produced an opinion piece for The Environmental Forum of the Environmental Law Institute (May 2017) – Link to article.
  • DOSI representatives presented our EREGS work at a workshop: Towards an ISA Environmental Management Strategy for the Area, 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). Berlin, Germany (March 2017) – Link to synopsis.
  • The Discussion Paper on the Draft Regulations for Mineral Resources in the Area (Environmental Matters) can be found on the ISA website.  Members of the Minerals WG met for the EREGS workshop to examine the documents. San Diego, USA (January 2017). The workshop participants produced a Letter to the ISA and a Synopsis  – Link to letterLink to synopsis.
  • DOSI response to ISA draft exploitation regulations (ISBA/Cons/2016/1) (October 2016) – Link to review.
  • DOSI response to ISA review (Article 154 UNCLOS) (October 2016) – Link to review.
  • DOSI publication: Levin et al. (2016) Defining “Serious Harm” to the Marine Environment in the Context of Deep-Seabed Mining. Marine Policy, pp. 245-259 (October 2016) – Link to paper.
  • Workshop on Enhancing Stakeholder Participation and Transparency in the ISA Process. Ocho Rios, Jamaica (July 2016) – Link to report.
  • DOSI awarded Observer Status at the International Seabed Authority. Kingston, Jamaica (July 2016) – Link to blog.
  • 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. Queensland, Australia (May 2016) – Link to report.
  • DOSI response to the International Seabed Authority document: “Developing a Regulatory Framework for Mineral Exploitation in the Area – a draft framework”. Report to stakeholders (ISBA/Cons/2015/1) (May 2015) – Link to review.
  • 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