The implications of seabed mining in the Area for the human right to health

Hamley, Graham J. (2022) The implications of seabed mining in the Area for the human right to health. Review of European, Comparative and International Environmental Law, 31 (3). pp. 389-398. ISSN 2050-0394 (

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As the prospect of seabed mining in the Area looms closer, much of the debate to date has focused on the prospects of economic gain versus environmental harm. This article contends that potential human health implications must also be considered, including threats to food safety and security, and acceleration of global climate change. Through analysis of both scientific and legal literature, this article highlights several ways in which seabed mining may impact human health due to harm to marine biodiversity, threatening enjoyment of the right to health under international human rights law. Against this backdrop, this article reviews the draft regime for the exploitation phase of seabed mining, currently under development by the International Seabed Authority, and highlights two areas in which the regime is incompatible with the human right to health. These findings highlight potential for stronger alignment between the seabed mining and international human rights law regimes.