[Devex] : I have followed the ongoing tug of war between opposing sides of the deep-sea mining debate and was waiting for someone to offer the third side of the story. Then I came across the first response from one of the small island nations when the newly elected prime minister of the Cook Islands, Mark Brown, defended his country’s decision to proceed with the early stage exploration of manganese nodules.
I empathize with the struggles the prime minister is going through, trying to reconcile his country’s active initiatives related to ocean conservation under its bold Marae Moana declaration and its need to achieve economic development.
As a strong and active ocean advocate, I have also found myself being torn between my own conflicting emotions on this issue. At the United Nations’ inaugural Ocean Conference in New York in June 2017, I made up my mind that deep-sea mining is inevitable and that there is an urgent need to formulate guidelines on best practices for mining to ensure sustainability of the oceans.