June 14, 2023

Press release

Global Sea Mineral Resources (GSR) welcomes the Belgian federal government’s approval of a preliminary draft law regarding national deep seabed mining (DSM) regulations.

The new law, once it has been ratified by the Parliament, sets out the conditions under which Belgium companies can establish commercial operations to collect minerals from the ocean floor.

The law mandates strict environmental standards that will ensure deep-seabed mining activities do not cause any unacceptable damage to the marine ecosystem.

DSM will only be permitted under Belgian law if international and national environmental objectives are respected.

“This is an important step in the journey towards a stable regulatory environment for the marine minerals industry,” said Kris Van Nijen, Managing Director of GSR. “Belgium is taking a lead in establishing regulations at the national level. We look forward to next month’s meeting of the International Seabed Authority where adoption of draft regulations for commercial activity will be on the agenda.

“It is in the interests of all stakeholders that a robust regulatory framework for commercial deep seabed mining is adopted by the ISA Assembly.

“Formal adoption of a regulatory framework will not signal the start of commercial deep seabed mining. It will merely establish the rules under which an application for a licence can be considered.

“The real significance of adoption is regulatory certainty. Having the rules in place is the best way to ensure the effective protection of the marine environment, as required by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and will give contractors and investors the confidence they need to complete crucial research into the environmental effects of deep-seabed mining.”

There is good reason to believe that collecting minerals from the seabed may be one of the more responsible ways to meet spiraling demand for clean energy resources like nickel, cobalt and manganese.

With regulatory certainty, the research can be completed with confidence and all stakeholders will be able to make assessments based on detailed, robust information.” Click here to read an English translation of the announcement from Vincent Van Quickenborne, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice and the North Sea, and Pierre-Yves Dermagne, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Employment.