Statement on Seabed Mining

Last updated: 10 December 2023

Natural Resources Canada released a statement in 2023 regarding the country's official position on seabed mining. The statement reaffirms Canada's commitment to increasing the percentage of protected marine and coastal areas in its territory to 25% in 2025 and 30% in 2030.
Seabed mining in areas under national jurisdiction is regulated by federal legislation that includes the Oceans Act, Species at Risk Act and Fisheries Act. The Marine Protected Areas (MPA) Protection Standard prohibits industrial activities including mining, oil and gas exploration and exploitation, waste disposal and bottom trawling in federally protected marine areas that were established after April 25, 2019. Exemptions from the standard apply to activities conducted for the following reasons: 1) public and vessel safety, 2) national defence, 3) national security, 4) law enforcement, 5) responding to an emergency, 6) aboriginal and treaty rights, 7) adherence with international law, 8) any other matter the Minister deems necessary for the implementation of the Standard. There is currently no domestic legal framework that would permit seabed mining in Canada, and the Statement affirms that Canada will not authorise this activity without the implementation of a rigorous regulatory structure that incorporates due diligence, precautionary and ecosystem-based approaches and engagement with the public, including with Indigenous Peoples.
With regard to seabed mining in areas outside national jurisdiction, the Statement reaffirms Canada's position that knowledge about the impacts of deep-sea mining and adoption of robust environmental standards by the International Seabed Authority is a necessary precursor to the authorisation of this activity. 

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