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 (over 100 members) 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

  • Development of report requested by The Pew Charitable Trusts: The scientific basis for environmental rule making at the ISA (by June 2018).
  • Exploration of working directly with country delegates at the ISA – ISA regulations will be applicable as a minimum to members states within their own jurisdictional waters.
  • Assess plans for a possible workshop on plume impacts of deep-sea mining.
  • Work towards further direct engagement at the ISA in person in Jamaica – DOSI is planning a side-event during the 24th ISA Session in July 2018.

Recent Working Group Activities

  • DOSI attendance as observers during the 24th ISA Session, March 5-9 2018.

    DOSI Observers ISA March 2018, Kingston. Photo by IISD/ENB | Francis Dejon
  • DOSI attendance at workshop on draft exploitation regulations: policy, legal and institutional considerations in advance of the March ISA council session.  12-13 Feb 2018, The Royal Society, London.  Convened by UK FCO and ISA.  Report to follow.
  • DOSI response to ISA stakeholder request for input to Draft Regulations on Exploitation of Mineral Resources in the Area. Link to document. DOSI Comments. Other scientist communications pertaining to seabed mining..
  • DOSI represented at the JPI Oceans “Ecological aspects of deep-sea mining” meeting (Oct 2017). Report.
  • DOSI invited to attend ISA Workshop on the Design and Monitoring of Impact  Reference Zones and Preservation Reference Zones, Berlin (27-29 Sept 2017). DOSI Report.
  • DOSI represented and poster presented (Lenaick Menot) at the Underwater Mining Institute annual meeting, Berlin (Sept 2017)
  • DOSI sponsored a Side Event at the 23rd Annual Session of the ISA that was attended by 140 Delegates, Contractors, Observers and staff.  Kristina Gjerde introduced presentations by Lisa Levin, Verena Tunnicliffe and Judith Gobin; Amber Cobley and Torsten Thiele aided coordination. Kingston, Jamaica (10 Aug 2017).
  • 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 Leads: Verena Tunnicliffe (verenat @ uvic.ca) & Hiroyuki Yamamoto (kyama @ jamstec.go.jp).

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

Judith Gobin presenting at ISA Side Event, July 2017
DOSI Representation during Berlin workshop, March 2017
EREGS Workshop participants (in person and online), February 2017