Environmental group to challenge Norway's deep-sea mining in court

Environmental group to challenge Norway's deep-sea mining in court

Nordic state recently became first country to approve controversial practice of commercial-scale deep-sea mining

By Leila Nezirevic

LONDON (AA) – An environmental group is suing the Norwegian government after it officially decided to open Norwegian sea areas for deep seabed mining activities.

The Norway branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) believes the decision was made based on a strategic impact assessment that does not meet the minimum legal requirements, the group said in a statement on Thursday.

The group is now notifying the government of “our intention to pursue legal action against the government, unless the decision is reversed,” it said.

Norway has become the first country globally to approve the controversial practice of commercial-scale deep-sea mining, despite warnings from its own environmental agency, national, and international research communities, and criticism from the EU and across the world.

The new bill would speed up the search for precious metals, which are in high demand for green technologies, but scientists have warned it could be devastating for marine life.

The deep sea contains minerals such as lithium, scandium and cobalt, which are crucial for clean technologies such as batteries, for instance.

Oslo plans to open up 280,000 square kilometers (108,000 square miles) of its national waters for companies to apply to mine these resources, according to local media reports.

"Norway's decision to proceed with opening vast ocean areas for destructive mining represents an unprecedented governance scandal," said Karoline Andaur, the CEO of WWF-Norway.

“Never before have we seen a Norwegian government so blatantly disregard scientific advice and overlook the warnings from a united ocean research community,” she added, urging the government to reverse its decision.

So far, 25 countries, including France, the UK, Mexico, and Denmark, have called for a precautionary pause, moratorium, or ban on deep seabed mining, said WWF-Norway.

Over 800 marine scientists from 44 different countries have expressed concern over the Nordic country’s decision.

In January, the European Commission demanded a ban on deep seabed mining until gaps in scientific knowledge are properly filled and it can be demonstrated that this activity has no harmful effects on the marine environment.

The European Parliament voted almost unanimously in February in favor of a resolution that criticizes Norway's plan for deep seabed mining.

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