"The Pacific island nation of Nauru and its roughly 11,000 residents are at the center of the increasingly contentious debate over whether the world's seabeds should be mined for nickel and other green energy transition minerals.
The complex fight pits competing visions of how best to protect the environment against each other. Nauru is calling for the rapid electrification of the world's economy to stem climate-warming carbon emissions - a step that requires more minerals - while conservationists believe that mining the ocean floor would threaten the biodiversity of vital ecosystems.
The United Nations' International Seabed Authority (ISA), authorized to permit and regulate mining in waters that fall outside of national jurisdiction, failed after weeks of negotiations in Jamaica to finalize standards late last month for deep-sea mining, which involves extracting polymetallic nodules from the seabed at depths of 4 to 6 kilometers (2.5 to 4 miles).
Negotiations will continue virtually in coming weeks, but a process triggered by Nauru in 2021 means the ISA must start accepting deep-sea mining applications this July, even if standards are not set."