Those eyeing the opportunity to mine the ocean’s floor will finally get their chance beginning in July when the United Nations’ International Seabed Authority will reportedly open the floor for applications.
According to a Reuters report, the decision comes after the group spent weeks debating standards for the practice, which has arisen amid speculation but also controversy.
The practice of deep-sea mining would occur at depths of between 2.5 and 4 miles, or about 4-6 kilometers, and extract cobalt, copper, nickel and manganese from polymetallic nodules.
The minerals, all needed for battery production, can be prolifically found in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ) in the north Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and Mexico.
Reuters said the ISA will accept applications beginning on July 9; ISA staff would then have three business days to inform the council, which will be meeting prior to July to continue to debate whether approvals could be delayed.
The potential advancement of deep-sea mining has not come without its opposers; while China is a leader in deep-sea mining exploration, countries like Chile, France, Palau and Fiji have called for a world-wide moratorium on the activity citing a lack of sufficient scientific data and environmental considerations.