Seamount with cobalt crust, a possible target for deep-sea mining

Dense pink corals inhabit seamount at 1800m

The Issue: Deep-seabed mining has been proposed as an alternative source of minerals, with large deposits present both within and beyond national jurisdictions. In areas beyond national jurisdiction, the International Seabed Authority is mandated by the United Nations to organise, regulate and control mineral-related activities for the benefit of humankind as a whole, as well as to ensure effective protection of the marine environment from harmful effects that may arise from such activities. Current challenges to robust protection of the remote deep sea include, for example, the scarcity of environmental baseline data and the lack of thresholds for harmful effects. Proactive development and implementation of comprehensive management practices, frameworks, and policies prior to the onset of mining are needed to ensure the protection of deep-sea biodiversity and ecosystem function.

The Working Group: The DOSI Minerals working group (180 experts) constitutes a broad spectrum of scientific, industry, economic, conservation, legal and policy expertise. As collated working group responses and as individuals, we provide expert opinion on deep-seabed mining related concerns through written responses, policy briefs, publications, side-events, interventions, workshops and symposia.


Need scientific or legal information about Deep-Sea Mining? You can check this list to find a deep-sea mining expert near you. To add an expert to the list, please email

Current Activities:


Past Activities (in reverse chronological order):

  • 29 June 2021: DOSI statement on the triggering of the ISA’s two-year rule by Nauru
  • June 2021: DOSI Policy Brief – The Necessity of Traditional Knowledge for Management of Deep-Seabed Mining
  • 11 June 2021: DOSI Minerals WG submitted comments on 5 of the 7 draft ISA Standards and Guidelines, including the:
  • 18 March 2021: Webinar in conjunction with IUCN: Raising the Curtain on Deep-Sea Mining. Watch the recording here.
  • January 2021: DOSI submitted commentary on the draft Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Strategy issued in December 2020.
  • January 2021: DOSI, the University of Edinburgh and WhaleWise co-hosted the “Treasures of the deep” webinar on deep-seabed mining. This is available on demand HERE.
  • DOSI participated in a number of virtual deep-seabed mining workshops and meetings, including:
    • ISA Workshop on the on deep sea taxonomic standardization: Strategic approaches for collaboration. 15-16 September 2020
    • ISA Workshop on the DeepData workshop focusing on data management strategy. 21-25 September 2020
    • ISA Workshop on the Workshop on regional environmental management plan (REMP) for the Area of the North West Pacific. 26-30 October, 2-6 November 2020
    • ISA Workshop on regional environmental management plan (REMP) for the Area of the Northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge with a focus on PMS deposits. 23-27 November, 30 November-4 December 2020
    • ISA Workshop on marine scientific research in the Area: Establishing a collaborative platform for improving biodiversity knowledge to support environmental management in mid-ocean ridge ecosystems focusing on the Indian Ocean. 15-17 December 2020
  • 21-23 October 2020: DOSI Deep-Sea Workshop for Pacific Islands States. ‘The Deep Sea, Humans, and Management’ was due to be held in Suva, Fiji, but was instead held remotely in a more concise form. Between 30 and 60 people joined per day. All lectures are publicly available HERE, and videos most relevant to mining can also be found below:

  • May 2020: DOSI submitted commentary on the Environmental Impact Statement for a Polymetallic-nodule Collector Pre-prototype for Deep-sea Mining issued in March 2020 by the Government of India’s Ministry of Earth Sciences.

Deep-Ocean Stewardship intervening at ISA meeting on deep-sea mining regulations

  • Feb 2020: DOSI attended the first part of the ISA 26th Session, presenting a new policy brief “Ecological Connectivity: Implications for Ocean Governance”, delivering four interventions, and co-hosting a scientific side-event on the importance of biodiversity and connectivity to the management of deep-seabed mining, with examples from the Clarion Clipperton Zone and the Mid Atlantic Ridge. The DOSI delegation consisted of Diva Amon, Anna Metaxas, Saskia Brix, Maila Guilhon and Sergio Cambronero.
  • DOSI had representation at the Workshop on the Regional Environmental Management Plan for the Area of the Northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge – Evora, Portugal – 25-29 November 2019.
  • DOSI attended a Workshop on Strategic Approaches to Developing Regional Environmental Management Plans – Hamburg, Germany – 11-13 November 2019
  • Scientific Considerations for Environmental Management of Inactive Polymetallic Sulfide (PMS) Ecosystems – Galway, Ireland – 22-24 October 2019.
  • Deep CCZ Biodiversity Synthesis Workshop – Washington, USA – 1-4 October 2019
  • The ISA  invited comments on the latest iteration of the Draft Exploitation Regulations, which can be found here: DOSI members compiled a commentary – October 2019.
  • July 2019: DOSI attended the Pew-RESOLVE Workshop “ISA Inspections and ISA Inspectorate: What will be Needed?” Irish Town, Jamaica

DOSI at the International Seabed Authority advising on deep-sea mining regulations

  • July 2019: DOSI attended the second part of the ISA 25th Session, presenting two new policy briefs, delivering eight interventions, and co-hosting a scientific side event.  The DOSI delegation consisted of Diva Amon, Lisa Levin, Anna Metaxas, Pradeep Singh, Eulogio Soto, Maila Guilhon and Sergio Cambronero.
  • June 2019: DOSI hosted ‘Deep-Ocean Climate Connections’, an expert workshop on climate change and deep-seabed mining at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, USA.
  • May 2019: DOSI Minerals WG members submitted a Commentary on the “Draft High Level Action Plan and Priorities and the Report of the Secretary-General on the Implementation of the Strategic Plan for the International Seabed Authority: Draft Performance Indicators for the 2019-2023 period” issued earlier this year.
  • May 2019: The ISA workshop, “The Development of Standards and Guidelines for Activities in the Area”, hosted in Pretoria, South Africa was attended by Diva Amon and Amber Cobley on behalf of DOSI.

Early career scientists Maila Guilhon (Brazil) and Sergio Cambronero (Costa Rica) representing DOSI at ISA

  • February 2019: DOSI attended the first part of the ISA 25th Session, presenting three policy briefs, delivering four interventions and hosting a side event. The DOSI delegation consisted of Jeff Drazen, Aline Jaeckel, Julie Huber, Verena Tunnicliffe, Philip Turner, Jessie Perelman and Diva Amon.
  • February 2019: DOSI WG member paper published: Tunnicliffe et al (2019) Strategic Environmental Goals and Objectives: Setting the basis for environmental regulation of deep seabed mining. Marine Policy