JET, Greenpeace Demands Answers from Holness Government about Deep Sea Mining

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 Jamaica News: The Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) and representatives of several other Jamaican civil society organizations, joined international environmental activist organization Greenpeace, outside the International Seabed Authority (ISA) annual meeting, in Downtown Kingston this morning, to protest against deep sea mining.

 The protesters displayed a massive yellow banner embedded with the words “No to deep sea mining, protect our oceans” and called on governments to agree on a strong Global Ocean Treaty to protect the oceans from industrial exploitation.

 Greenpeace’s ship, the Esperanza, sailed to Jamaica direct from one of the most iconic  battlegrounds for this nascent industry, the so-called Lost City in the mid-Atlantic, that is under threat after the ISA granted an exploration contract in the region. Scientists warn that deep sea mining could cause irreversible and inevitable harm to marine life, including extinctions of species, and drive the climate crisis by disrupting ‘blue carbon’ stores in the seabed.

JET and Greenpeace have expressed grave concern about implications for Jamaica as although Jamaican waters are not a target for deep sea mining, the Andrew Holness- administration has agreed to sponsor Blue Minerals Jamaica Limited’s application for a deep sea mining exploration contract this year.  JET has also expressed concern that information has not been forthcoming from the Government.

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 “In the absence of a national regulatory or monitoring framework for deep sea mining, combined with significant associated environmental and financial risks, a sponsorship agreement with a deep sea mining company does not reflect well on the GOJ’s international commitments to transparency and sound environmental stewardship,” said Suzanne Stanley, CEO of Jamaica Environment Trust.

 The Esperanza is in the middle of a Pole to Pole expedition from the Arctic to the Antarctic, highlighting threats to the ocean and calling for Global Ocean Treaty to protect international waters from multiple pressures, including the deep sea mining industry.

 “The oceans are facing more threats now than at any time in history, but the dangerous deep sea mining industry wants to put yet more pressure on fragile ecosystems,” said Louisa Casson,  of Greenpeace’s Protect the Oceans campaign. “The International Seabed Authority is responsible for regulating deep sea mining, but instead of safeguarding the deep ocean this so-called regulator is serving the interests of industry and ‘selling off’ the seabed for mining exploration.”

This assembly outside the International Seabed Authority comes the day after a protest against bauxite mining in Cockpit Country, a Jamaican biodiversity hotspot.

“Mining, whether on land – in the Cockpit Country – or in the deep ocean, is never good for the environment. As global citizens the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) joins the efforts of those holding world leaders accountable for their actions related to the health of our oceans. The rush towards Deep Seabed Mining (DSM) puts the health of the world’s oceans at risk, threatening marine biodiversity and our common ecological heritage,” said Stanley.

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