The Government of Nauru has been urged to slow down its push to proceed with deep sea mining in international waters by 2024, according to a Radio New Zealand report.
Nauru has requested that the International Seabed Authority (ISA) fast-track the adoption of seabed mining regulations.
The regulations are still under consultation but Nauru’s request is to invoke a so-called ‘two-year rule’ and compel the ISA to allow seabed mining within two years, effectively setting a deadline for the body to finalise the mining regulations.
Nauru has forged close links to one of the companies engaged in deep sea mining.
The development of the regulations at the ISA is moving faster than many ocean scientists and environmentalists are comfortable with.
Phil McCabe is the Pacific liaison officer for the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, a grouping of over 90 organizations worldwide, and he said triggering a “race to the bottom” could prove disastrous for the world’s oceans.
He said the coalition was urging Nauru to reconsider its path, and was also calling on the New Zealand government to speak up.
“Any responsible government would not just stand by and allow this to occur. We’ve got this track record in New Zealand of assessing this activity, and it’s come up failing,” Mr McCabe said.
“We know we can’t do this without causing serious harm. So our government, I feel, has a responsibility to step up and really challenge this move.”