Oceana denounces the European Commission plan to develop deep-sea mining operations, and appeals to EU citizens to oppose this destructive activity by participating in the public consultation, which is open until June 16th, 2014.
Deep-sea mining is one of the most extreme activities taking place in the ocean: huge underwater bulldozers and robots tear up the seafloor, smashing and vacuuming finite minerals and other metal resources, such as copper, gold, zinc, manganese or cobalt.
In 2012, the European Commission described in its Blue Growth strategy, the strong potential of seabed mining to generate sustainable growth and jobs in the maritime sector. At that time though, environmental NGOs issued a warning – ‘Limits to Blue Growth’ – about the potential risks and uncertainties of ocean mining, including job creation. Yet the Commission continues to pursue its agenda by developing feasibility studies, which are fuelling the growing interests of mining companies in a new “gold rush”.
Worse still, existing alternatives to deep-sea mining, such as developing resource efficiency and recycling policies have not yet to be thoroughly explored. Not only would they be more sustainable and cost-effective in meeting the EU’s need for minerals, but they could also contribute to a significant rise in employment opportunities – up to 500,000 jobs according to studies.
No public debate has ever been raised on this crucial societal issue concerning a common heritage of present and future generations. Not only does ocean mining cause devastating and irreversible damage to the environment, but it directly affects local coastal communities:
“It is not simply because we possess the technology to mine the seabed or because it has now become economically feasible, that we should necessarily do it. It is major political decision that EU citizens have a right, and duty to participate in. Will deep-sea mining ensure a healthy and productive marine environment in the long term? The undeniable answer, is no,” stated Xavier Pastor, executive director of Oceana in Europe.
Oceana strongly encourages citizens to actively contribute to the public consultation organized by the Directorate General for Maritime Affaires and Fisheries of the European Commission – despite its poor quality and lack of neutrality (no place for non-industry players). It is the EU’s responsibility to protect our marine natural biodiversity and establish strict governance before any deep sea mining is authorized.