Chairs: Marco Grasso (University of Milano Bicocca, Italy) and Michael Sattich (University of Stavanger, Norway)
The deep seabed contains a wealth of minerals essential for almost all low carbon technologies, including electric vehicles. Land-based deposits are fast being depleted and/or are mostly localised in geopolitically challenging regions.
Technological advances already make deep sea mining feasible, and with estimates that over the next two decades the demand for nickel and cobalt will rise 60-70% and almost 90% for lithium, this could lead to a ‘blitz’ on the deep seabed.
However, the deep seabed is part of the “common heritage of mankind” and, therefore, not under state sovereignty, so it is essential that global politics be exceedingly wary of any possible threat of exploitation by vested interests amidst a global ecological crisis. A relatively young intergovernmental body, the International Seabed Authority, is in charge of governance of the deep seabed, with the irreconcilable mandates to protect it, to oversee its exploitation, and to share the resulting benefits privileging poorer developing countries.
This session by and large contributes to understand who can or cannot exploit the wealth the seabed has to offer and how: contributions are welcome on, but not limited to, the following themes:
• Access to and management of the global commons ‘high seas’.
• Actors involved in deep seabed mining.
• Conflicts on access to deep seabed’s resources.
• Ethical bases of claims to deep seabed’s resources.
• Governance of deep seabed mining.
• Sovereignty and deep seabed mining.
• Territorial questions involved by deep seabed mining.
Keywords: critical minerals, deep seabed mining, global commons, high seas, sovereignty