Environmental Management Strategy
The International Seabed Authority (ISA) is currently running various workshops and preparing papers on the environmental management (including impact assessments) for deep sea mining. This includes:
- A discussion paper was published in January 2017 on “Regulations on Exploitation for Mineral Resources in the Area Environmental Matters)”.
- Background document for Workshop: Towards an ISA Environmental Management Strategy for the Area
EIA is without doubt an important tool and should be better specified, the discussions groups and draft workshops generated the following concepts with regards to the EIA:
- The specific requirements and procedures for the overall EIA process should be clearly formulated.
- The role of EIA throughout different parts of the Exploration and Exploitation phases should be clarified.
- The EIS template is being redrafted in order to be up to date. Guidelines to support defining the content of the EIA could be developed further.
- Scoping was proposed to be an important step of the environmental permitting process. Through scoping, the aspects to be addressed in the EIA should be determined. There needs to be a decision made to give the Contractor more certainty (i.e. not just an opinion ) to proceed to EIA on the basis of the Environmental Scoping Report.
- Information gathered through EIA should feed into regional management mechanisms (and vice versa).
With regards to the EIA approach on DSM there is currently a general consensus what is required but no formal agreement on the specific EIA flow diagram yet in place. A draft version (derived from the workshop in Berlin (2017)) is presented below – please note that this is still work in progress.