Caritas welcomes Government call for deep-sea mining moritorium

deep sea

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand says the Government’s call for a conditional moratorium on deep-sea mining in international waters is a welcome move.

The moratorium will remain in place until strong environmental rules can be agreed and backed up by robust science.

“It is welcome news before the International Seabed Authority meets again next week to push through mining rules that could allow deep sea mining from July next year.

“We hope New Zealand will use its position to promote strong, robust rules and frameworks, supported by science, to protect the Ocean for all humanity,” Caritas Director Mina Antonio says.

“We commend Minister Nanaia Mahuta and her officials for listening to the science and to the range of opinion on the topic in the Pacific, while respecting the sovereign rights and mana of countries to manage their own kaitiakitanga responsibilities,” said added.

At the same time, however, Antonio says it’s “imperative that national governments and international bodies take into account the many local and coastal communities around the Pacific that would be devastated by further damage to our stressed and abused Moana through seabed mining.”

Caritas Oceania has been calling for a total ban on seabed mining in national and international waters throughout the Pacific since 2019.

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand (CANZ) has also lobbied to protect New Zealand’s environment and communities opposing an application to mine iron sands 30 kilometres offshore from South Taranaki.

Such activity would damage the ocean and have wider potential impacts through sediment plumes, CANZ stated at the time. Furthermore, it did not respect the territorial rights and responsibilities of the local Ngāti Ruanui iwi.

The Government’s continued support offers hope to those in the front line. It must keep pushing to safeguard further and protect the environment and communities, both here and overseas, Antonio says.

“Our Government’s stance will give heart to many of our partners and associates throughout the region who are battling against seabed mining interests in both national and international waters.

“But we need to go further and give a clear signal that seabed mining in New Zealand waters is also unacceptable and a threat to our ocean ecosystem and coastal communities.”


Additional reading

News category: New Zealand.

Tags: ,