Coordinated development of marine mining among Asia-Pacific economies is needed to meet long-term demand for industrial commodities while buffering other ocean-related sectors from the effects of increased excavation.
Guided by this view, APEC officials examined how member economies are addressing the expansion of marine mining and areas of potential policy collaboration during an APEC seminar that concluded on Wednesday in Taipei.
“The exploration and development of undersea ore and mineral deposits is critical to powering industrial activity and growth in the Asia-Pacific, particularly as global demand for these resources increases over time and prices fluctuate,” said Dr. Chia-Juch Chang, Minister of Economic Affairs for Chinese Taipei.
“Coordination between APEC member economies on the management and regulation of marine mining can support greater industry sustainability,” he explained. “In the process, it can also help to ensure the vitality of the region’s oceans on which fisheries, tourism and other sectors are dependent.”
Worldwide, metal and mineral exports grew from a trillion dollars in 1996 to more than USD3 trillion in 2010, reports the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council. This constitutes an average growth rate of 12.6 percent. By comparison, the export of all other products grew 7.9 percent annually on average during the same period.
Collectively, APEC economies account for 70 percent of total metal and mineral production and are the sector’s biggest exporters, according to the findings of an APEC research project released by Rusmet in 2012. They meanwhile consume 60 percent of these commodities.
“The region’s oceans are a vast and still relatively untapped repository of minerals such as manganese, cobalt and sulfide which have important industrial uses,” said Ma Yongzheng, Chair of the APEC Mining Task Force. “The growing profitability and technical viability of marine mining, even at great depths, is attracting more exploration and extraction.”
“Governments in the APEC region are working together to support balanced and effective marine mining practices which are particularly crucial at this stage of industry development,” Ma said.
Participants described their respective economy’s marine mining policies and assessed the value of deepening cooperation on issues such as human resources development, information-sharing and regulatory reform.
A report containing recommendations to better guide marine mining expansion in the APEC region was compiled and shared with member economies at the conclusion of the seminar.
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