Greenpeace call for halt to seabed mining

Greenpeace has released a report entitled "Deep Seabed Mining: An urgent wake-up call to protect our oceans" in an effort to end seabed mining.

In its 20 page report, Greenpeace state that seabed mining "poses a major threat to our oceans", adding that "all types of seabed mining will kill whatever can't escape the mineral extraction operations".

It also highlighted the risk for accidents if an ore barge were to sink, as well as the potential of oil or hydraulic fluid leak from machinery on the seafloor.

Greenpeace used the report to "demand a high seas biodiversity agreement under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to protect marine life in areas beyond national jurisdiction".

"Greenpeace demands that no seabed mining applications are granted, and that no exploration or exploitation takes place, unless and until the full range of marine habitats, biodiversity and ecosystem functions are adequately protected," unless an institutional framework is in place.

Seni Nabou, the political advisor for Greenpeace in Fiji, told Radio Australia that more work needs to be done to protect aquatic fauna and floor before companies can mine.

"We don't believe that seabed mining applications should be granted," Nabou said.

"Environmental impact assessments are not priority prior to any of this exploration taking place, nor are they being made public.

"No exploration or exploitation should take place unless or until the full range of marine habitats, biodiversity and ecosystem functions are adequately protected."

Seabed mining has been a contentious issue.

A number of licences have been granted for seabed mining globally, particularly within the pacific.

Papua New Guinea has the most developed seabed mining operations and seen support ffor their development from the country's government.

Lockheed Martin, one of the world's largest military equipment manufacturers, also entered the deep sea mining race, using cold war era information to hunt for manganese nodules on the sea floor.

Closer to home, Indigenous land owners have been fighting to ban seabed mining in the Northern Territory after the region experienced a spike in applications.

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