Seabed mining law boost

Dr Pierre-Jean Bordahandy and Dr Lili Song.

Lice Movono | The Fiji Times | April 5, 2017

PACIFIC governments may soon have answers to major concerns about seabed mining which can be useful in the formulation of laws which govern the issue.

This follows a boost to the University of the South Pacific’s ability to provide research based analysis and advise when it won a research grant recently.

According to a statement from the University of the South Pacific (USP), two academics from its School of Law won the grant worth AUD 7000 from the Guangdong Institute for International Strategies.

The USP says the grant will fund a research project which examines the development of legal framework for deep-sea mining in South Pacific Island States.

The two academics, senior lecturer, Dr Pierre-Jean Bordahandy and lecturer Dr Lili Song, are based based at USP’s Emalus Campus in Vanuatu where they will will conduct the research.

The USP says Dr Bordahandy and Dr Song’s research will evaluate selected national deep-sea mining legal frameworks developed by Pacific Island governments states which consider the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and COP 21 and COP 22 agendas.

Major questions the two’s research will address include:

  • Whether there is any major discrepancy or imbalance between the international and national regimes that will lead to the shift of deep-sea mining operations from high sea areas to areas within national jurisdiction, or vice versa?
  • What is the role of the principle of precaution in relation to deep-sea mining?
  • Is there any major gap in the way deep-sea mining risks are framed in the various national regimes considered?

“According to Dr Bordahandy, the vast ocean floor of the Deep South Pacific is generally said to boast great potential of valuable mineral resources, however, its exploitation poses technical, environmental, economic challenges both to coastal states and to the international community,” the USP said.

Dr. Song said their analysis may help Pacific governments to make informed decisions as they legislate deep-sea mining “and to better address the various challenges presented by deep-sea mining operations.”

The project which started in December 2016 ends in November 2017.

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Filed under Environmental impact, Pacific region

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