October 19, 2023 Editor

China is set to dominate the deep sea and its wealth of rare metals

Beijing aims to control the resources needed for next-generation tech, including advanced weapons systems

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Oct. 19 at 5:00 p.m.

image above: Submersible Qianlong III ascends after diving 3,955 metres (Image: Alamy)

WN: A fascinating article! The environmental fallout is only barely sensed. . .

Please also see, by Baba Tamim, Published: Oct 16, 2023: China’s advancement in stealth submarine ‘a nightmare’ for US and allies: China’s submarine’s remarkable stealthiness, enabled by copying developments based on Russian technology, could make it highly challenging to detect, increasing concerns about a potential escalation in the undersea arms race.

excerpts:

Whether working deep at sea or on land at the headquarters of the United Nations’ seabed regulator here in Kingston, Beijing is striving to get a jump on the burgeoning industry of deep-sea mining.

China already holds five of the 30 exploration licenses that the International Seabed Authority (ISA) has granted to date — the most of any country — in preparation for the start of deep-sea mining as soon as 2025. When that happens, China will have exclusive rights to excavate 92,000 square miles of international seabed — about the size of the United Kingdom — or 17 percent of the total area currently licensed by the ISA.

The ocean floor is shaping up to be the world’s next theater of global resource competition — and China is set to dominate it. The sea is believed to hold several times what land does of these rare metals, which are critical for almost all of today’s electronics, clean-energy products and advanced computer chips. As countries race to cut greenhouse gas emissions, demand for these minerals is expected to skyrocket.

When deep-sea mining begins, China — which already controls 95 percent of the world’s supply of rare-earth metals and produces three-quarters of all lithium-ion batteries — will extend its chokehold over emerging industries like clean energy. Mining will also give Beijing a potent new tool in its escalating rivalry with the United States. As a sign of how these resources could be weaponized, China in August started restricting exports of two metals that are key to U.S. defense systems.

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Editor

Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

Always appreciate constructive feedback! Thanks.

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