Stop financing ocean polluting

Originally published and translated from Bergens Tiedende

Garbage, pollution, climate change, destruction of habitats and the spreading of alien species: we learn more each day about the extent to which human activity is impacting the ocean. Dumping mining waste in the sea, often with a high content of heavy metals and process chemicals, is one impact that is so dirty and unnecessary that it should be done away with once and for all. International agreements, as the London convention and protocol, declare that it is strictly forbidden to dump mining waste in the ocean from ships, but unfortunately this does not include waste dumped through pipes from land.

Marine scientists are worried, most countries have abandoned this activity, and two of the world’s largest mining companies, BHP Billiton and Goldcorp, have declared that they do not dump mining waste in the sea. Only Chile, Turkey, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and our country—Norway– still have mines disposing mining waste in the sea. Worldwide, 99.3% of the mines operating today use other methods, according to the International Maritime Organization.

As an attempt to stop this outdated method, we joined with Earthworks and an international coalition to launch the Ditch Ocean Dumping campaign. Our goal is to convince banks to stop financing mining companies that dump their waste in the sea.

Most banks and mining companies avoid ocean dumping without expressing it formally, but the banking giants Standard Chartered and Citibank have taken it a step further, establishing formal policies that they will not accept this. International Finance Corporation (World Bank Group) also has strict guidelines for such activity, with terms that would exclude all ongoing and planned Norwegian projects using ocean dumping.

Naturvernforbundet (Friends of the Earth Norway) encourages the large Government Pension Fund Global, other funds, banks and other financial institutions to take the same action as Standard Chartered Bank and Citibank, declaring that it is against their environmental profile to finance mines dumping mining waste in the sea.

We must all contribute in taking care of the ocean, our common food basket, Norway’s most important resource, and the ocean’s enormous biological diversity.
Mads Løkeland (mining group advisor)
Jorunn Vallestad (staff)