Geneva, Switzerland – A new way to meet the growing demand for minerals critical to electric vehicle, electronics and battery manufacturers could become commercially available within this decade. Significant public and private investment have gone into how to extract cobalt, nickel, lithium and other minerals from the deep seabed; however, more than 80 non-governmental organizations have voiced concerns about the dangers of commercial extraction.
While venues exist for countries, scientists, seabed mining industry and environmental organizations to discuss deep-sea mining, companies that use these kinds of minerals – the product manufactures and metal markets – previously did not have a place to learn about and discuss this topic. To create the space needed for this industry to come together, discuss and engage on this complex issue, the World Economic Forum has launched the Deep-Sea Minerals Dialogue.
The World Economic Forum is an impartial platform for dialogue and often brings together competitors and groups that may not traditionally work together to discuss complex issues. This new platform will utilize the Forum’s multi-stakeholder approach and hopes to convene responsible businesses and accelerate their participation on this topic. The new platform will leverage experts with different points of views and analyse decision-making systems and learnings from existing industries.
Dominic Waughray, Managing Director, World Economic Forum said: “Deep-sea mining is a cross-cutting topic that could affect both progress on climate action as well as the preservation of biodiversity and is connected with the transition to a circular economy. Stakeholders owe it to themselves and to the planet alike to make the wisest decision possible.”
The next years are critical as regulatory, technology and investment decisions are being made. These decisions could determine the environmental and social impact of deep-sea minerals. Although the minerals may not enter supply chain for a few years, examples involving cobalt mining from the Democratic Republic of Congo and palm oil supply from Indonesia, show that failing to act early, can result in costly efforts to clean up the supply chain and reputational impact afterwards.
A new briefing paper released November 11, Deep-Sea Minerals: What Manufacturers and Markets Need to Know, highlights why mineral sourcing manufacturers and metal markets need to engage now on the deep-sea mineral discussion.