What is the current state of play of research on deep-sea mining? To respond to that, we gathered scientists and experts to create the poster “Why We Need to Hit the Brakes on Deep-Sea Mining” which will be exhibited at a range of conferences and events starting with the UN Ocean Decade Conference. With this, we raise awareness about the urgent need to give a breathing space for science instead of rushing into exploitation of the deep sea. 

Explore the robust scientific evidence we have gathered, highlighting the alarming risks associated with deep-sea mining. Evidence is overwhelming: we must act now to prevent irreparable harm.

Together, we can make a difference. Let us unite in calling on policymakers, industry leaders, and stakeholders to halt the rush toward deep-sea mining and prioritise the long-term health of the ocean, the largest biome on our planet.

Download the poster

Below you can access the references mentioned in the poster and a bio of the authors

1.        European Academies Science Advisory Council (2023). Deep-Sea Mining: Deep-Sea Mining: Assessing Evidence on Future Needs and Environmental Impacts. https://easac.eu/publications/details/deep-sea-mining-assessing-evidence-on-future-needs-and-environmental-impacts

2.        Amon, D. J., et al. (2022). Assessment of Scientific Gaps Related to the Effective Environmental Management of Deep-Seabed Mining. Marine Policy, 138, 105006. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308597X22000537

3.        The Metals Company (2023). TMC Announces Corporate Update on Expected Timeline, Application Costs and Production Capacity Following Part II of the 28th Session of the International Seabed Authority, Press Release, 1 August 2023. https://investors.metals.co/news-releases/news-release-details/tmc-announces-corporate-update-expected-timeline-application

4.        Amon et al. (2022).

5.        Kaikkonen, L. et al. (2024). Probabilistic Ecological Risk Assessment for Deep-Sea Mining: a Bayesian Network for Chatham Rise, SW Pacific Ocean. Forthcoming. Preprint be found on bioRxiv: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2023.11.28.569078v1.full.pdf+html

6.        Morato, T., et al. (2022). Modelling the dispersion of Seafloor Massive Sulphide mining plumes in the Mid Atlantic Ridge around the Azores. Frontiers in Marine Science, 9, 910940. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2022.910940/full

7.        Drazen, J. C. et al. (2020). Midwater ecosystems must be considered when evaluating environmental risks of deep-sea mining. PNAS, 117 (30). https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2011914117

8.        Stenvers, V.I., et al. (2023). Experimental Mining Plumes and Ocean Warming Trigger Stress in a Deep Pelagic Jellyfish. Nature Commununications, 14, 7352. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-023-43023-6

9.        Carreiro-Silva, M., et al. (2022). Mechanical and Toxicological Effects of Deep-Sea Mining Sediment Plumes on a Habitat-Forming Cold-Water Octocoral. Frontiers in Marine Science, 9, 915650. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2022.915650/full

10.     Christiansen, B., et al. (2020). Potential Effects of Deep Seabed Mining on Pelagic and Benthopelagic Biota. Marine Policy, 114. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308597X18306407

11.     Thompson, K. F., et al. (2023). Urgent Assessment Needed to Evaluate Potential Impacts on Cetaceans from Deep Seabed Mining. Frontiers in Marine Science, 10. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2023.1095930/full

12.     Christiansen et al (2020).

13.     Orcutt, B. N. et al. (2020). Impacts of Deep-Sea Mining on Microbial Ecosystem Services. Limnology and Oceanography 65. https://aslopubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/lno.11403

14.     Amon, D., Levin, L., & Andersen N. (2022). Undisturbed: The Deep Ocean’s Vital Role in Safeguarding us from Crisis. International Programme on the State of the Ocean. https://www.stateoftheocean.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/DeepSea-Synthesis-31oct-high.pdf

15.     Stratmann, T., et al (2018). Abyssal Plain Faunal Carbon Flows Remain Depressed 26 Years After a Simulated Deep-Sea Mining Disturbance. Biogeosciences, 15. https://bg.copernicus.org/articles/15/4131/2018/bg-15-4131-2018-assets.html

16.     Environmental Justice Foundation (2024). Critical Minerals and the Green Transition. Do We Need to Mine the Deep Sea? https://ejfoundation.org/reports/critical-minerals-and-the-green-transition-do-we-need-to-mine-the-deep-seas

17.     Månberger, A. & Stenqvist, B. (2018). Global Metal Flows in the Renewable Energy Transition: Exploring the Effects of Substitutes, Technological Mix and Development. Energy Policy, 119. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421518302726

18.     Teske, S. et al. (2016). Renewable Energy and Deep Sea Mining: Supply, Demand and Scenarios. Report for Institute for Sustainable Futures. https://www.eu-midas.net/sites/default/files/publications/DSM%20RE%20Resource%20Report_UTS_July2016.pdf

19.     The Economist (2023). Firms are Exploring Sodium Batteries as an Alternative to Lithium. October 25. https://www.economist.com/science-and-technology/2023/10/25/firms-are-exploring-sodium-batteries-as-an-alternative-to-lithium

20.     Miller K. A., et al (2021). Challenging the Need for Deep Seabed Mining From the Perspective of Metal Demand, Biodiversity, Ecosystems Services, and Benefit Sharing. Frontiers in Marine Science, 8. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2021.706161/full

21.     Jaeckel, A., et al. (2023). Deep Seabed Mining Lacks Social Legitimacy. npj | Ocean Sustainability 2, 1. https://www.nature.com/articles/s44183-023-00009-7

22.     Planet Tracker (2024). How to Lose Half a Trillion: Deep sea mining to destroy at least half a trillion dollars in corporate value and natural capital. https://planet-tracker.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/How-to-Lose-Half-a-Trillion.pdf

23.     Sumaila, U.R., et al. (2023). To Engage in Deep-Sea Mining or not to Engage: What Do Full Net Cost Analyses Tell Us? npj | Ocean Sustainability 2, 19. https://www.nature.com/articles/s44183-023-00030-w

24.     Pickens, C., et al. (2024). From what-if to what-now: Status of the deep-sea mining regulations and underlying drivers for outstanding issues. Marine Policy, 2024. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2023.105967

25.     Planet Tracker (2023). The Skyhigh Cost of Deep Sea Mining. Report. https://planet-tracker.org/the-sky-high-cost-of-deep-sea-mining/

26.     The Pew Charitable Trust (2023). Analysis of the International Seabed Authority Environmental Impact Assessments Regime during Exploration. Seventh Report of the Code Project. https://www.pewtrusts.org/-/media/assets/2023/03/cp-eia-2023_02032023_cp.pdf

27.     Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (2023). Momentum for a Moratorium. Website. https://deep-sea-conservation.org/solutions/no-deep-sea-mining/momentum-for-a-moratorium/



Pradeep Singh is a renowned expert on ocean governance, the law of the sea, environmental law, climate policy and public international law, currently serving as Fellow at the Research Institute for Sustainability, Potsdam and an advisor to the IUCN on deep seabed mining. He is part of the Informal Working Group tasked with creating a strategy for engaging and incorporating younger perspectives and input throughout the UN Ocean Decade and member of the Early Career Ocean Professionals (ECOP) group.

Laura Kaikkonen is a postdoctoral researcher at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in New Zealand. After receiving her PhD in marine ecology from University of Helsinki, Laura now contributes to the work of the Deep Ocean Stewardship Initiative, which developed the UN Decade Programme Challenger 150. Laura is also the chair of the Interdisciplinary Marine Early Career Network. IMBeR was actively involved in the planning phase of the Decade and is registered as a ‘partner’ within the Decade’s Ocean Science & Technology stakeholder group.

Marta Ribeiro, has a PhD on Law of the Sea and is a specialist in marine protected areas. Her institution University of Porto is a member of the European Marine Board, which is  an UN Oceans Decade implementing partner. With her marine research, Marta has contributed to the EMB in their endeavour to promote and support knowledge transfer for improved leadership in marine research in Europe. University of Porto is also a partner of the UN Decade Challenger 150 Programme.

Emily Tewes has served as Deep-Sea Mining Campaign Manager at Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA). SOA is leading an endorsed UN Decade Action in partnership with the ECOP Program, Leveraging SOA and ECOPs Global youth networks to support the UN Decade. She holds an M.Sc. in Marine Science, and before her time at SOA she spent six years working at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, most recently managing NOAA’s Research partnerships in Japan, South Korea, and Indonesia. Today Emily works with Med Sea Alliance as a Project Manager.

Sian Owen is the Executive Director of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition and has coordinated the global strategy for the DSCC since 2011. Sian’s role with the DSCC draws on extensive experience in program development, policy and partnerships, both as an independent and from eight years with WWF International’s Global Marine Programme.

Simon Holmström acts as Deep-Sea Mining Policy Officer at the Brussels-based umbrella organisation Seas At Risk. Simon has a background in environmental advocacy and policy-making in the Nordic region. He is actively engaged in deep-sea mining work within the OSPAR Commission and advocacy within the European policy landscape.