Stop Deep Sea Mining

From plumes of poison to toxic spills, deep sea mining is a dangerous business. Early exploratory mining test results and the warnings from scientists are clear: the deep sea is no place for mining. Habitats destroyed, animals smothered, and the environmental impact of deep sea mining are among the growing concerns.

Trachymedusa Deep Sea Animal

© Solvin Zankl / Greenpeace

Deep marine ecosystems are one of only a few remaining untouched habitats. To extract the mineral deposits in the deep ocean, mining operations scrape up the seabed with giant drill-like machinery, destroying the habitats of endangered and unique species like sea pangolins. Resulting sediment plumes could kill untold numbers of sea animals by poisoning and smothering life for kilometers around a mining site and anywhere processed sediment is pumped back into the ocean.

Distrusted, untested, untenable:

Mining companies claim that extracting rare metals found in the deep sea is the only way to produce the batteries we need for electrifying the power supply. This is false, and we cannot let the mistakes of land-based mining be repeated. Electric vehicle companies, battery manufacturers, and renewable energy agencies have spoken out against deep sea mining because the risks of pollution and environmental destruction are far too great. Recycling and reusing the materials already extracted is the safest pathway to meeting renewable power needs.

We have already seen that deep sea mine operators cannot be trusted. In late 2022 test operations, The Metals Company was caught discharging waste directly into the ocean. Scientists monitoring the mining tests also came forward to allege deficiencies in the program’s scientific monitoring system, poor sampling practices, and equipment failure making data collected during the tests deeply flawed and unreliable to greenlight commercial-scale mining.

This is how we stop deep sea mining together, before it starts.

1) Hold governments accountable for deep sea mining

The Australian Labor Party has supported a moratorium on deep sea mining, thanks in part to the continued pressure from climate advocates and scientists. Now we must ensure that what is said in party memos is translated into action. Your support will help fund our scientific work, to document evidence and produce scientific reports that will show the undeniable risks of letting deep sea mining go ahead. With your support, we can fund vital marine research to build evidence and work with our science communications teams to ensure that it is accessible to all audiences.

2) Keep up pressure ahead of the next ISA meeting

The International Seabed Authority is an intergovernmental body that regulates the deep sea, an area outside the jurisdiction of any one country. The go-ahead to start deep sea mining could come from agreements at the next meeting of the ISA in July 2024. So far only exploratory licenses have been granted for test operations in a region between Mexico and Hawaii, and no mining has begun. But the biggest mine operator, The Metals Company, has put forward an aggressive timeline to begin extracting at a large scale.

Mining could begin even while no environmental regulations are in place. It will take a strategic combination of legal work, advocacy, and creative non-violent disruption that Greenpeace is uniquely capable of to push countries to hold firm in their stance against deep sea mining at the next ISA meeting. Your support is essential to helping us expose the dirty tricks within the deep sea mining industry.

3) Amplify Pasifika voices calling for a ban

We can use your gifts to work with our global Greenpeace network to amplify the voices of Pasifika people standing up against deep sea mining and show the potential harm to ecosystems, which they are the custodians of.

“To greenlight deep sea mining when so little is known about the unique biodiversity of the deep ocean could be potentially catastrophic. This is our once-in-a-generation chance to stop a destructive and extractive industry before it starts and to protect whales and other marine life from the devastating impacts of deep sea mining.”

– Louisa Casson, Lead Campaigner, Deep sea mining campaign.