Google, BMW, Volvo and Samsung SDI are the first global companies to sign a World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) call for a moratorium on deep-sea mining, WWF said on Wednesday.
By supporting this call, companies are committing not to source minerals from the seabed, exclude these minerals from their supply chains and not fund deep seabed mining activities, WWF said in a statement.
Deep-sea mining would extract cobalt, copper, nickel and manganese – key materials commonly used to make batteries – from potato-sized nodules that pepper the seabed at depths of 4 to 6 kilometers and are particularly abundant in the Clarion-Clipperton area. in the North Pacific Ocean, a vast area stretching millions of kilometers between Hawaii and Mexico.
“With much of the deep sea ecosystem still to be explored and understood, such activity would be short-sighted reckless,” WWF said in a statement.
The moratorium calls for a ban on deep seabed mining activities until the risks are fully understood and all alternatives are exhausted.
BMW said raw materials from deep-sea mining are “not an option” for the company at present because scientific results are insufficient to be able to assess environmental risks. Google and Volvo did not immediately respond to email requests for comment.
South Korea’s Samsung SDI said it was the first battery maker to participate in the WWF initiative.
In the meantime, the deep-sea mining companies are continuing their preparatory work and research on the seabed permit areas.
Companies that hold exploration licenses for parts of the seabed, including DeepGreen, GSR and UK Seabed Resources – a subsidiary of the UK branch of Lockheed Martin – hope to eventually sell seabed minerals to automakers and corporations. batteries.
DeepGreen, which recently announced plans to go public in a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), previously said seabed mining would be more sustainable than mining. on earth because it creates less waste and nodules containing minerals have higher concentrations of metals. than the deposits found on earth.
Meanwhile, Norway has said it could allow companies to mine the seabed as early as 2023, potentially placing it among the first countries to harvest metals from the seabed.