DEEP SEA MINING representatives were confronted by an inflatable octopus higher than a double-decker bus at one of the deep sea mining industry’s annual summits in London to demand a stop to this destructive industry.

Greenpeace activists protested outside the Canary Wharf Hilton hotel to mark the opening of the 12th Annual Deep Sea Mining Summit on 17 April. The summit was billed as the world’s leading deep-sea mining event and brought together all the main players within the industry. Among those expected to attend were Loke and Impossible Metals, both frontrunners in this activity with plans to exploit the depths of the Pacific Ocean and the Arctic.

Louisa Casson, Senior Oceans Campaigner for Greenpeace, said: “We are appalled to witness how a handful of private companies gathered inside this building are committed to mining the oceans next year, regardless of scientific warnings, political negotiations, and indigenous rights. This is a dangerous industry with no social license that is putting pressure on governments to allow destruction to take place in one of the world’s most pristine ecosystems.”

Activists holding banners reading ‘Stop Deep Sea Mining’ confronted Walter Sognnes, the CEO of Loke Marine Minerals, as he entered the conference. Loke is one of three companies looking to mine Norway’s Arctic continental shelf and owns UK Seabed Resources (UKSR) who have two exploration licenses in the Pacific.

The Metals Company was the first company to state that they plan to apply to mine after the meeting of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) in July this year and that they expect to be in production in the fourth quarter of 2025. The last ISA meeting last month in Kingston, Jamaica saw desperate attempts from this company to limit peaceful protest after Greenpeace staged a 200-hour protest against NORI/The Metals Company at sea in November 2023. Not only did they fail to achieve this, but it also became clear that only a small minority of governments want to see deep sea mining start soon.

Briony Venn, Oceans Campaigner with Greenpeace UK, said: “We brought some creatures of the deep to interrupt the industry’s exclusive meeting. These companies, including UK Seabed Resources, are determined to start mining the seabed as soon as possible despite the UK government and many scientists backing a moratorium on this destructive practice. The industry can’t hide away in its ivory tower and avoid scrutiny forever.”

Loke aims to mine the thick, rocky crust of the Arctic seabed itself, known as manganese crusts. These crusts are up to 40 centimetres thick, and each centimetre is believed to have taken one million years to build up. UKSR currently holds exploratory deep sea mining licenses for areas covering 133,000 square kilometres of the Pacific Ocean – an area larger than England.

Hundreds of scientists, both in Norway and globally, have warned of the risks of deep sea mining, and the call for a moratorium has grown exponentially among governments, with 25 states including the UK now arguing that we need to listen to science and safeguard our oceans.

A global movement of over two million people is calling on governments to make history by voting for a moratorium on deep sea mining at the ISA Assembly meeting in July. The UK government announced its support for a moratorium in October 2023. The ISA Assembly is made up of 167 States plus the European Union.

Source: Greenpeace