DeepGreen Metals attempts environmental facelift
to boost lagging investment
In a further attempt to distance itself from the significant environmental and social costs of deep sea mining,
DeepGreen Metals merged with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) called Sustainable Opportunities Acquisition
Hard facts refute the claims of the new entity, The Metal Company, that it will promote sustainable development and is
an Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG)-compatible investment.
Andy Whitmore, Finance campaigner, Deep Sea Mining Campaign stated, “there is nothing sustainable about the business
model or the extractive mining process proposed. The information released by DeepGreen via its merger with SOAC raises
questions about the viability of this new venture in a high-risk, experimental industry. The risks identified by
DeepGreen and SOAC include uncertainties about fundamental nuts and bolts aspects such as the commercial and technical
feasibility of seafloor polymetallic nodule mining and processing; the supply and demand for battery metals; the future
prices of battery metals; the uncertainty in mineral resource estimates.”
Mr. Whitmore continued, “This public float is very similar to the method that the now bankrupt deep sea miner Nautilus
Minerals used to register on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
DeepGreen founders, Gerard Barron and David Heydon were early investors in Nautilus who departed prior to the company’s
downturn in fortunes,
which left the Papua New Government and other investors in debt.
This method of public listing not only ensures less transparency, but is also typical of start-up mining companies,
despite all the green spin”.
Dr. Helen Rosenbaum, Coordinator, Deep Sea Mining Campaign explained, “Let’s be very clear, DeepGreen Metals is a
start-up mining company with an ambitious agenda to make BIG money as quickly as possible regardless of the social and
environmental impacts. Describing itself as ‘a developer of lower impact battery metals’ is ludicrous greenwashing.
Metals are not ‘developed’, they are mined. DeepGreen under its new moniker - The Metals Company - plans to mine unique biodiverse deep sea ecosystems that are largely still unknown to science.”
There are currently no operating deep sea mining projects in the world and environmental concerns are being raised by
internationally recognised scientists and civil society across the globe. The more we explore the deep sea the more we
are learning of the complex eco-systems that exist. There is currently no way to assess the environmental or social
impacts of deep sea mining which is why over 90 organisations and individuals worldwide are calling for a moratorium
and others, including Sir David Attenborough,
are calling for a ban on deep sea mining
Dr Catherine Coumans, MiningWatch Canada argued, “The rocks that DeepGreen ‘The Metal Company’ plan to mine have taken
millions of years to form and host diverse and unique life forms. Scientists warn
that the destruction of this seabed ecosystem will affect the health of our oceans and planet. They predict that the
impacts would be extensive, severe and last for generations.”
“Based on the science, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has just released practical guidance for finance institutions
on sustainable ocean finance. Investors should note that this UNEP guidance is clear in its exclusion of deep sea
mining as a sustainable option,”
continued Dr Coumans.
Dr. Rosenbaum concluded: “ESG and Impact Investors should take a serious look at alternatives to mining virgin metals. A
new wave of urban mining companies is on the cusp of supplying minerals with simple, low-cost technologies, flexible
scales for diverse locations, and win-win social and environmental outcomes. The scope to produce metals in this manner
is immense and recession proof – not only from the huge global stockpiles of electronic wastes but also from existing
mine tailings wastes. Investments in deep sea mining might well end up being stranded assets.”