BRUSSELS - The deep, blue oceans are home to an unprecedented wealth of biodiversity, as well as the planet's last unexploited resources. The race to the ocean floor is in full swing and Belgium is in the leading group.
The Belgian pioneering role has been assigned to the company Global Sea Mineral Resources (GSR), a subsidiary of the dredging group DEME. Thanks to the formal support of the Belgian government, GSR was granted a concession for exploration in the Pacific, for an area five times the size of Belgium. Half of this has to be shared with the Cook Islands.
For many years now, GSR has been exploring the possibilities of harvesting so-called polymetallic nodules and finally wants to start operating.
Experts and environmental movements fear irreparable damage.
Moreover, the Belgian state threatens to be made jointly responsible if an operation goes wrong. And that risk is there, because deep-sea mining, five kilometres below the water surface, will always remain risky. A parliamentary debate on Belgian participation in the exploitation of deep-sea wealth in the Pacific is needed.
Photo: © Yannis Papanastasopoulos (via Unsplash)
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