Seabed: Mining

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 23rd July 2019.

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Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to end UK Government sponsorship of deep sea mining exploration licences; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Chris Skidmore Chris Skidmore Vice-Chair, Conservative Party, Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Universities and Science) (Joint with the Department for Education)

The UK Government sponsored two 15 year deep sea mining exploration licences. The licence holder has contracts of exploration with the UN’s International Seabed Authority (ISA) which obliges them to undertake a plan of work. We have not received any further applications for exploration licences and do not expect to be granting any further exploration licences at this time.

There are no plans to vary the Government’s policy towards deep-sea mining at this time. The UK Government will continue to deploy its expertise and influence at an international level to ensure sufficient scientific evidence about the potential impact on deep-sea ecosystems and enforceable environmental standards is established.

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