International Seabed Authority Enters New Stage In The Development Of Marine Minerals

29 NOVEMBER 2011, NADI, FIJI -- Speaking at the opening of the Workshop on Environmental Management Needs for Exploration and Exploitation of Deep Seabed Minerals, Nii Allotey Odunton, Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority told participants that ISA has taken steps to augment the international community's knowledge base in order to facilitate adequate environmental protection from mining.

He said these steps included standardizing data and data collection methods in order to develop robust databases to facilitate decision-making.

"It is becoming clear that exploitation of marine mineral resources is becoming increasingly likely and with this increase in activity, the potential impacts on the marine environment need to be addressed, particularly that of environmental impact assessments", he said.

"We are entering a new stage in the development of marine minerals".

The Secretary-General also said the Authority will begin work on an exploitation code next year which is expected to include the requirement for Environmental Impact Assessment.

The workshop is being held in Nadi, Fiji from 29 November - 2 December 2011. Its objectives are to increase awareness of the nature of the mineral resources in marine areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction (“the Area”), and on the outer continental shelf, and the measures taken by the International Seabed Authority with regard to the protection of the marine environment from the harmful effects of deep seabed mining and the applicability of such measures to the development of marine minerals within national jurisdiction; and to formulate preliminary recommendations for environmental impact assessments (EIA) of seabed mining both within and beyond national jurisdiction.

The workshop was officially opened by the Honourable Minister, Timoci Natuva, Minister of Works and Public Utilities and was preceded by a traditional Fijian welcome ceremony accorded to Secretary-General Odunton.