Harmful marine extractives: Deep-Sea Mining

Published June 2022

The deep sea contains many of the most pristine ecosystems on our planet and plays a crucial role in regulating the climate. Plans to mine this unique and complex area of our planet would create irreversible ecosystem and habitat loss, as well as permanently destroy invaluable carbon storage. 

Due to high levels of scientific uncertainty and potential devastating environmental impacts of deep-sea mineral extraction, many civil society groups including manufacturers and private organisations have voiced their concerns.  

In this critical context and as part of ongoing work on the sustainable financing of ocean-related sectors, UNEP FI has published a briefing paper, sending a clear message to its members and the wider finance community. In their current form, there is no foreseeable way in which the financing of deep-sea mining activities can be viewed as consistent with the Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Principles. 

Discussing the significant reputational, regulatory, and operational risks associated with plans to mine the deep seabed of minerals, the paper addresses how financial institutions should respond to the deep-sea mining sector. It also lays out how financial institutions wishing to finance the extraction of necessary rare earths and metals could focus efforts on alternative strategies that would reduce the environmental footprint of terrestrial mining and support the transition toward a circular economy. 

Download the Briefing Paper

 

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