World African nations criticise push to fast-track deep-sea mining talks
China coast guard blocks Philippine boats in disputed sea
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Chinese coast guard ships blocked and used water cannons on two Philippine supply boats heading to a disputed shoal occupied by Filipino marines in the South China Sea, provoking an angry protest to China and a warning from the Philippine government that its vessels are covered under a mutual defense treaty with the United States, Manila’s top diplomat said Thursday. Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said no one was hurt in the incident in the disputed waters on Tuesday, but the two supply ships had to abort their mission to provide food supplies to Filipino forces occupying the Second Thomas Shoal, which lies off western Palawa
By Helen Reid and Jeff Lewis
(Reuters) -African countries, many of which are heavily reliant on mining, have criticised a move by the tiny Pacific island nation of Nauru to fast-track international negotiations over deep-sea mining, an industry that could hurt their economies.
Nauru last month set a two-year deadline for rules governing deep-sea mining in international waters to be finalised. Nauru triggered the so-called "two-year rule", which allows for a mining plan to be approved after two years under whatever rules are in place at that time.
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BEIJING (AP) — Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Monday said his country will not seek dominance over Southeast Asia or bully its smaller neighbors, amid ongoing friction over the South China Sea. Xi made the remarks during a virtual conference with the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, held to mark the 30th anniversary of relations between China and the grouping. Two diplomats said ASEAN member Myanmar was not represented at Monday's meeting after its military-installed government refused to allow an ASEAN envoy to meet with ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other arrested politicians. Military ruler Gen.
The task of agreeing on regulations by mid-2023 is "seemingly insurmountable" as the global pandemic constrains countries' ability to negotiate, the African Group said in a letter to the Council of the International Seabed Authority, a U.N. body tasked with drawing up regulations for the new industry.
The ISA said meetings of the Council are expected to resume "before the end of the year". Nauru's ambassador to the ISA did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
The African Group, one of several regional groupings at the ISA, represents 47 nations including the world's top producers of manganese and cobalt - South Africa and Democratic Republic of Congo, respectively.
Those countries' economies, along with many others in Africa, rely heavily on mining and could be negatively impacted by mining of seabed rocks called "polymetallic nodules" that contain manganese, copper, nickel, and cobalt.
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The nodules are typically composed of 28.4% manganese, 1.3% nickel, 1.1% copper and 0.2% cobalt, according to research house CRU.
In the letter, the African Group said a prerequisite for any seabed mining "is a financial regime that properly compensates humanity for its resources and land-based miners for their losses."
Under the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), resources in international waters are the common heritage of mankind, and revenues from those resources must be shared among all countries.
In a 2019 report to the ISA, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) said it assumed most revenues taken in by the ISA from seabed mining would go to mining-dependent developing countries to compensate them for the impact on their economies.
Most countries vulnerable to competition from seabed minerals are in Africa, a May 2020 study commissioned by the Secretariat of the ISA found, with Congo, Gabon, Madagascar, and Zambia especially likely to be impacted.
(Reporting by Helen Reid and Jeff Lewis; editing by David Evans)
Burundi suspends rare-earth mining in row over riches .
Burundi's government said it had suspended the operations of several international mining companies, complaining it was not getting its fair share of income from the country's mineral wealth. One of those targeted runs the Gakara project, one of the world's richest deposits of rare earths, which are key components in many hi-tech products. In a letter to the companies seen by AFP, Mines Minister Ibrahim Uwizeye said the decision was taken earlier this month because of "numerous failures" regarding the country's mining code."The state, which owns the soil and minerals, is not making a profit as it should," the letter said.