Thank you for contacting me about deep-sea mining exploration licences.
I understand that some organisations, including Greenpeace, have raised their concerns about granting deep-sea mining exploration licences. I also understand that these concerns involve the legality of the licences, including the length of the licence and also the mapping of the exploration area.
Deep-sea mining exploration licences detail the UK’s responsibilities as a sponsoring state of UK Seabed Resources in its exploration of polymetallic nodules.
The Government is in the process of developing the International Seabed Authority’s (ISA) deep sea mining code, which will ensure that future mining is conducted in a safe and environmentally sensitive way. Until then, the Government has agreed not to support or sponsor any licences for deep-sea mining projects until there is sufficient scientific evidence about the potential impact on deep-sea ecosystems, and strong and enforceable environmental standards have been developed and put in place by the ISA.
Ultimately, I am pleased that the UK is playing a crucial role in ensuring that strong environmental standards are upheld in the growing deep-sea mining industry.