[ti:China Could Be First to Mine Deep Sea Minerals]
[00:00.04]China is likely to become the first country in the world to start mining minerals from the ocean floor.
[00:11.08]The head of the International Seabed Authority, or ISA,
[00:16.80]said that will happen if international rules for exploitation are approved next year.
[00:27.64]Minerals on the floor of the ocean, such as nickle, copper and manganese
[00:34.56]can be used in smart phones, electric car batteries and many other devices.
[00:43.88]The ISA has already signed 30 agreements with governments, research organizations
[00:52.06]and businesses to explore the bottom of the ocean, also called the seabed.
[00:59.60]China has signed five such agreements.
[01:04.02]The ISA was established to supervise seabed resources
[01:11.09]under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
[01:17.84]The group hopes to have rules for seabed exploitation by July 2020.
[01:26.52]"I do believe that China could easily be among the first (to start exploitation)," said Michael Lodge.
[01:36.08]He is the ISA general-secretary who visited China recently.
[01:43.80]"The demand for minerals is...increasing, there is no doubt about the market," he added.
[01:52.20]There is also interest from European countries including Belgium,
[01:58.08]Britain, Germany, and Poland and from the Middle East as well.
[02:05.12]However, no country has yet shown that deep sea mining can be cost effective.
[02:11.92]Some independent, non-governmental organizations have questioned
[02:18.01]whether it would be possible to reach a deal on exploitation rules by next year.
[02:26.60]"I think, it's pretty good. I think the...draft is largely complete," Lodge said.
[02:34.05]He was answering questions about the possibility the rules will really be in place by next July.
[02:43.88]One of the issues remaining to be decided is the amount of money
[02:49.20]that will be paid to the ISA for subsea mineral exploitation outside of national waters.
[02:59.36]Lodge explained that the ISA, which is based in Jamaica,
[03:04.46]wants to receive four to six percent of the value of the minerals
[03:10.20]at the moment they are removed from the sea.
[03:15.32]If the rules are approved, it could take about two to three years
[03:20.56]for countries to get permits to start seabed mining under draft rules now in place, Lodge said.
[03:31.48]Canada's Nautilus Minerals had tried to mine seabeds for copper and gold
[03:38.64]in the national waters off Papua New Guinea, but it ran out of money.
[03:46.16]It asked for protection from its creditors earlier this year.
[03:52.56]This has not stopped other companies, such as Global Sea Mineral Resources (GSR),
[03:59.39]part of the Belgian group DEME, and Canada's DeepGreen, from continuing tests and research.
[04:11.16]In July, Greenpeace called for an immediate moratorium on deep sea mining
[04:18.18]to learn more about how it may effect sea ecosystems, but the ISA has rejected a moratorium.
[04:29.12]I'm Susan Shand. 更多聽力請訪問51VOA.COM