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World - Seafloor Deposits of Minerals Could Soon Become Commercially Available Amid Concerns Over Deep-Sea Mining

Seafloor deposits of cobalt, nickel, lithium and other minerals could soon become commercially available. But environmentalists are concerned about the dangers of deep-sea mining

A novel source of minerals may soon become available to global markets: seafloor deposits of cobalt, nickel, lithium and other minerals. According to a paper published by the World Economic Forum (WEF), resource exploitation industries need new frameworks for governance and these frameworks are taking shape for deep-sea minerals.

In 2021, in fact, the International Seabed Authority (ISA), an intergovernmental body based in Kingston, Jamaica, is likely to finalise regulations for the exploitation of deep-sea minerals that can be found there. ISA was established to regulate all mineral-related activities in the International Seabed Area beyond the limits of national jurisdiction, an area underlying most of the world’s oceans. Some countries are developing regulatory frameworks, too, for the exploitation of deep-sea minerals in their coastal exclusive economic zones. It’s likely that, by 2030, these minerals could be inside consumer products and used in industrial processes.

The supply of minerals, including cobalt, is currently a key bottleneck in lithium-ion battery production. This, in turn, constrains the manufacture of electric vehicles and other technologies that aim to aid the global green transition. By increasing the availability of cobalt and other minerals, deep-sea mining has the potential to reduce costs and boost the production of green technologies, helping curb the negative environmental and biodiversity effects of climate change.

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