Environmental Organization Calls for Protection in Pacific Deep Sea Mining

A region’s peak environment organization has stated that companies interested in exploring or mining the Pacific seafloor should be required to invest in protecting the underwater environment.

David Sheppard, Director General of SPREP, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program stressed that it is important to identify and protect marine ecosystems.

Radio Australia quoted Mr. Sheppard as saying: “There is clearly a need for care on the management of tailings that are associated with the deep seabed mining and the issue of spills is less apparent than for oil spills, for example, but still is also an issue.”

Mr. Sheppard believes that mining companies should dedicate a portion of their investment to obtain baseline data and meet environmental standards adding that there is the need for Pacific countries to coordinate their approach because of the potential impact across multiple countries.

When we are talking about sea, we are talking about the United Nations Law of the Sea, UNCLOS. There are particular considerations within that that relate to high seas mining that is beyond the exclusive economic zones, so in fact there is an international seabed Authority and it is important that they are involved, that the standards being directed are being applied and they also need to be applied within the exclusive economic zone of each country,” he explained.

Mr. Sheppard has stressed that SPREP will assist Pacific countries in creating effective seafloor mining laws.

Subsea World News Staff , March 09, 2012;  Image: Nautilus Minerals