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20 Feb 2023

Joanna Chiu, Toronto Star

Nauru: Why has a Canadian company partnered with the tiny island of Nauru to fast-track deep-sea mining?

"Why has a Canadian company partnered with the tiny island of Nauru to fast-track deep-sea mining?" 20 February 2023


[...] TMC [The Metals Company] has partnered with the tropical island nation of Nauru, which has a population of 12,500. The Canadian company’s wholly owned subsidiary, Nauru Ocean Enterprises, is registered in Nauru. Nauru acts as the firm’s official state sponsor.


If mining exploitation can go forward, it’s not clear how Nauru will benefit. Negotiations on future revenue sharing are underway but for now, TMC supports several local jobs including two Nauruan directors as well as initiatives such as university sponsorships, according to Barron. In the future, the company may pay taxes to Nauru. A representative for the Nauru government at the UN could not be reached for comment.

The whole situation has raised eyebrows, says Pradeep Singh, a specialist in ocean regulation and fellow at the Research Institute for Sustainability, Helmholtz Centre in Potsdam, who advises several governments on deep seabed mining and attends ISA meetings as an observer delegate.

“It is apparent that the company does not currently have a significant presence or meaningful and physical assets within the jurisdiction of Nauru so the question is raised as to whether it is appropriate for the country to be sponsoring this company,” Singh said.

“The pertinent question to ask is whether Nauru has effective control over the actual activities that are being carried out in the name of Nauru Ocean Enterprises Inc.,” he added.