Deep Seabed Mining – Webinar 1: Pulling the trigger – what’s next now Nauru has triggered the two-year countdown for deep seabed mining

This was the first in Volterra Fietta’s four-part virtual seminar series that will explore different aspects of deep seabed mining.

This first seminar discussed the effects of Nauru’s request to the International Seabed Authority (“ISA”) to finalise the deep seabed mining code, i.e., the regulations for the exploitation of minerals in the international seabed, by mid-2023.  The seminar discussed this development from a diverse range of perspectives.  The speakers on the panel each have a vast amount of experience in various sectors engaged with deep seabed mining.

Our distinguished panel of speakers were:

Andrew Friedman is an Associate Manager of the Seabed Mining Project at The Pew Charitable Trusts.   Mr Friedman leads Pew’s work to safeguard the marine environment by advocating for the development of a precautionary management regime for deep seabed mining at the International Seabed Authority.  Mr. Friedman also served as the legal adviser to the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Palau to the United Nations.  In this role, he advised Palau’s permanent representative on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, fishery management, and ocean conservation.

Angela Ha is a Senior Associate at Volterra Fietta.  Ms Ha is an Australian-qualified lawyer.  She advises governments and private clients on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious public international law issues.  She has acted for States before the International Court of Justice in cases involving maritime boundary delimitation and international human rights law.  She regularly acts for both investors and States in investor‑State arbitrations involving the energy, financial services, manufacturing, construction, mining and media sectors.  Alongside her legal practice, Ms Ha has lectured in public international law, international investment law and international energy law at University College London and SOAS University of London.

Thembile Joyini is the Vice Chair of the Legal and Technical Commission of the International Seabed Authority.  He also serves as Legal Counsellor for the South African Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York.  He was the Chief State Law Adviser (International Law) for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa from 2008-2013.  In that capacity, he attended ISA meetings as (advisor to) the head of the delegation and participated in the negotiations of the mining code for deep seabed mining.  Mr Joyini has also chaired and negotiated on behalf of the Group of 77 and China during South Africa’s chairship of the Group in 2015, in his capacity as the leader of the South African delegation.

Robert Milbourne is the Managing Director of Mining Standards International (MSI).  Mr Milbourne founded MSI in 2015 to address the global challenge of transparency and accountability in the mining sector.  He is an international corporate attorney with 20 years of experience across mining and minerals, infrastructure, and energy sectors.  He has advised governments, investors, non-profits and other stakeholders in mineral projects in over 30 countries and with respect to deep seabed mining in the Area. MSI has been admitted as an Observer to the ISA where it has sought to advocate for international best practices in the developing Mining Code.  He is also an adjunct professor of law at the University of Queensland and regularly speaks on global trends in mining and natural resources law and policy.

This event was moderated by Florentine Vos.  Florentine Vos is an Associate at Volterra Fietta.  Ms Vos advises States, international organisations and private clients on issues of public international law and international dispute settlement, including before the International Court of Justice and in investor-State arbitration.  Her expertise covers a wide array of public international law topics, including the law on the sea, such a dispute resolution under UNCLOS, maritime boundary delimitation and deep seabed mining.