Deep-Sea Mining: U.S. Lawmakers Seek to Make a Push in a New Bill

by | 13. Mar 2024 - 09:19 | Politics

The proposal aims to ramp up nodule collection in the deep sea, as well as domestic processing and refining of critical minerals. 

U.S. lawmakers seek to accelerate American deep-sea mining activities in a new bill introduced on Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports. The proposal pushes explicitly for financial, diplomatic, and infrastructure support for the industry, according to the WSJ, which has exclusively seen a draft text of the bill. Sponsored by Rep. Carol Miller (R., W.Va.) and Rep. John Joyce (R., Pa.), the aptly named Responsible Use of Seafloor Resources Act seeks to advance U.S. nodule collection in the deep-sea, as well as domestic processing and refining of critical minerals, where “upstream sourcing is compliant with regulations.” Miller added that the act would bolster U.S. supply chains while creating numerous jobs. 

Deep-sea mining has gained traction globally in recent years as countries pursue diversification efforts in critical minerals supply chains, which are currently dominated by China. In Norway, for example, the parliament approved government plans to open up an area in the North Atlantic to explore and extract mineral sources earlier this year. However, despite the promising potential of creating new sources of raw materials, deep-sea mining faces opposition from environmental groups and some governments. Germany, France, Switzerland, Chile, and the UK are among the most vocal proponents of a moratorium on issuing permits until the environmental impacts have been studied and are better understood. 

Photo: iStock/S_Bachstroem

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