The Deep Seabed Mining (DSM) industry is ready to start commercial mineral collection in the years to come after decades of cautious exploration and scientific and environmental research. 

It is not a question of “if” or “maybe”—the DSM industry is a fact. The main reason for this certainty is twofold. 

Starting with the easy one, we need the metals to build the global electric infrastructure – and we need the metals for all the other applications as well. Land-based reserves are not going to be remotely adequate to meet future demand. It’s as simple as that. Feel free to read the many reports and projections (e.g. International Energy Agency’s (IEA) The Role of Critical Minerals in Clean Energy Transitions or International Renewable Energy Agency [IRENA]) — they’re conclusive. 

Secondly, let’s take the most straightforward reason of them all – why the DSM industry will happen: IT’S THE LAW. The law – the United Nations Convention Law Of the Sea (UNCLOS) was passed in 1982 by more than 160 countries and came into force in 1994. Apart from being a miracle of international and multilateral legal cooperation, it is a law that literally is unbreakable. 93% of the world’s governments have ratified this law, and changing anything in UNCLOS would take consensus from all of the signatories, which presently includes 168 countries and the EU!

So what of the voices who, for all sorts of reasons – some well-meaning, some misguided, some being political, some protecting their land-based mining, and some because going against DSM is the only way they can raise funds – are calling for a ban on DSM or a 10-year moratorium or “cautionary delay”? Well, it’s all noise that will lead to nothing. Because UNCLOS is A LAW and banning or breaking a law – well, it’s illegal. And we can give you all the good reasons why DSM needs to go forward. UNCLOS is a good law. It ensures that the valuable resources mutually owned by all on this planet are divided more fairly – so that small countries such as Tonga or Jamaica can have a portion of this value on par with countries like Germany, France, or Japan. And DSM is without contest the most environmentally sustainable collection of minerals, DSM produces the least waste of all mining activities, has the least impact (no blasting, drilling, digging) – and not forgetting that our planet will not survive without the metals from DSM. 

But let’s go back to the law aspect. Finally, the world has an industry under ONE LAW, where all the players have to play by the same rules – and not to forget, the law where the highest environmental cautionary regulations will apply and apply to all. 

All these positive factors are factual. And if it has not been highlighted enough before – IT IS THE LAW. The International Authority that enforces the UNCLOS regulations, the International Seabed Authority (ISA), is in the final stage of formulating the mining regulations to be completed by 2025. But the ISA is not changing the law – it doesn’t have the authority to do so nor to write a new treaty – it is merely the “secretary” for UNCLOS that is formulating the wording for the regulations.

So: to investors, potential sponsor countries, industries that utilize the metals, and consumers who ultimately will benefit from this – you can feel comfortable about DSM. It’s what the world decided it wants, and it’s the law.