Credit By: The Washington Post
China’s most recent victory goes much beyond its geographical boundaries. While the world looks on, the Asian behemoth is quietly consolidating its power in the field of deep-sea mining, which is set to become a major player in the struggle for resources in the future on a worldwide scale. The stakes are high because it is thought that the ocean floor contains several times as many of the critical minerals required for electronics, clean energy products, and cutting-edge computer chips. These minerals are vital to addressing the world’s expanding need for advanced technologies and clean energy while halting climate change.
China’s Aspirations for Deep-Sea Mining:
China’s deep-sea mining goals are centered around polymetallic nodules, which are the ocean’s hidden treasure trove. These ocean-bottom rock formations, which are rich in manganese, cobalt, nickel, and copper, are worth trillions of dollars in mineral richness. For businesses ranging from electric automobiles to cutting-edge weapons, they are crucial.
China’s Expanding Dominance:
China is putting itself in a strategic position to be a major participant in the future deep-sea mining sector. With five of the thirty exploration licenses that have been issued by the International Seabed Authority (ISA) thus far, China is the country with the greatest number of licenses. Obtaining these licenses is an essential step toward the planned 2025 start of deep-sea mining. When this sector takes off, China will be the only country allowed to excavate a landmass of 92,000 square miles or 17% of the entire seabed area covered by ISA licenses. China now has more impressive control over vital resources supporting developing industries like clean energy.
China’s Growing Arsenal:
Possessing a firm hold on 95% of the world market for rare-earth metals and producing 75% of lithium-ion batteries, China is ideally positioned to use deep-sea mining as a formidable new weapon in its international rivalry, especially with the US. One clear illustration of how these resources could be used in weapons is the present limitations on the export of metals that are essential to American defense systems.
Essential to the Green Economy:
Seabed mining is essential to obtaining the minerals needed for the 21st-century green economy. Demand for these minerals is predicted to skyrocket as international efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions pick up steam. China has a lot of influence over the global shift towards a greener, more sustainable future because of its edge in this area.
U.S. Trailing Behind:
In reaction to China’s aspirations for deep-sea mining, the United States has not yet taken any notable action. The United States is an observer of the ISA, but as the industry’s rules and regulations are developed, it runs the risk of being ignored. U.S. businesses do not have exploration contracts with the ISA, in contrast to China. Opponents contend that for Washington to compete in this new market, a complete plan is required.
The Great Power Competition:
The race to dominate seabed mining has developed into a crucial arena for international rule-making and the acquisition of access to vital resources. China is actively influencing the future of this business and, by extension, its status as a major maritime power, while the United States looks on from the sidelines.
It is impossible to overestimate the importance of seabed mining as the globe explores this developing sector. The race for the riches buried beneath the seas has the power to drastically alter the balance of power in the world in a geopolitical environment that is changing quickly.
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