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15 Jan 2024

Rosie Frost, euronews,

Norway becomes first country to back deep-sea mining despite environmental concerns

According to a study by the Environmental Justice Foundation published on the day of the vote, deep-sea mining is not needed for the clean energy transition.

Norway has become the first country in the world to greenlight the controversial practice of deep-sea mining.

A bill passed in the Norwegian Parliament on Tuesday (9 January) will accelerate the undersea hunt for minerals needed to build green technology such as batteries for electric vehicles. It authorises opening up parts of the country's sea to mining exploration.

Around 280,000 square metres of the country’s national waters could gradually be opened up - an area nearly the size of Italy located in the Arctic between Svalbard, Greenland and Iceland. [...]  

Companies that are pushing for deep-sea mining have argued that it will be cheaper and have less of an environmental impact than mining on land. [...]

More than 800 marine scientists and policy experts from 44 countries have called for a pause on deep-sea mining plans which they say could lead to “irreversible damage” to biodiversity and ecosystems. [...]

Norway’s own experts have criticised the mining plans too. [...]

“Deep-sea mining is a pursuit of minerals we don’t need, with environmental damage that we can’t afford,” the foundation's CEO and founder Steve Trent said.

“We know so little about the deep ocean, but we know enough to be sure that mining it will wipe out unique wildlife, disturb the world’s largest carbon store, and do nothing to speed the transition to clean economies.” [...]