Swiss want moratorium on deep-sea mining

Swiss want moratorium on deep-sea mining

Switzerland said deep-sea mining in the international seabed area must be postponed until protection from the 'harmful effects' could be ensured
Switzerland said deep-sea mining in the international seabed area must be postponed until protection from the 'harmful effects' could be ensured. Photo: Boris HORVAT / AFP/File
Source: AFP

PAY ATTENTION: Enjoy reading our stories? Join's Telegram channel for more!

Switzerland, a global commodities trading hub, decided Wednesday to push for a moratorium on commercial exploitation of the international seabed area, which has enormous mineral resources.

Bern said deep-sea mining in the area "must be postponed" until protection from the "harmful effects" could be ensured.

Switzerland will "support a moratorium on commercial exploitation of the area until there is more scientific knowledge of its impact and protection of the marine environment can be guaranteed", the government said in a statement.

Wildlife conservation group WWF said: "Switzerland is sending an important signal for the protection of the oceans and their biodiversity".

Meanwhile the Swiss-based International Union for Conservation of Nature said it was "fantastic news on deep sea mining".

Greenpeace called it a "success for the oceans".

Read also

Ugandans sue TotalEnergies for reparations in France

Switzerland will take its position to the 28th session of the International Seabed Authority in Jamaica's capital Kingston next month.

The ISA organises and controls all mineral resources-related activities in the international seabed, outside national territorial jurisdiction, "for the benefit of all humankind", it says.

It is mandated to ensure the effective protection of the marine environment from the potentially harmful consequences of seabed extraction operations.

The deep seabed covers around 54 percent of the total area of the world's ocean floor.

"There is growing interest from certain states and companies who wish to commercially exploit the area's mineral resources, which are potentially useful for the transition to renewable energy," the Swiss government said.

"Minerals such as cobalt and manganese are needed to manufacture electric vehicle batteries," it added.

However, most ISA member states think no commercial seabed mining should be allowed before regulations are in place, it said.

Some 15 countries have gone further and are opposed to any commercial use of the area, with or without regulations, Bern added.

Read also

Climate protesters target TotalEnergies' UK headquarters

Switzerland is a stronghold for commodity trading. It is home to large companies like Glencore -- active in coal, metals and oil -- or firms like Vitol or Trafigura, based in Singapore but with a large operations centre in Geneva.

With a net profit of $17.3 billion in 2022, Glencore is a juggernaut in the brokerage of metals, such as copper, zinc, nickel or cobalt.

New feature: Сheck out news that is picked for YOU ➡️ click on “Recommended for you” and enjoy!

Source: AFP

AFP avatar

AFP AFP text, photo, graphic, audio or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium. AFP news material may not be stored in whole or in part in a computer or otherwise except for personal and non-commercial use. AFP will not be held liable for any delays, inaccuracies, errors or omissions in any AFP news material or in transmission or delivery of all or any part thereof or for any damages whatsoever. As a newswire service, AFP does not obtain releases from subjects, individuals, groups or entities contained in its photographs, videos, graphics or quoted in its texts. Further, no clearance is obtained from the owners of any trademarks or copyrighted materials whose marks and materials are included in AFP material. Therefore you will be solely responsible for obtaining any and all necessary releases from whatever individuals and/or entities necessary for any uses of AFP material.