If the technology had been ready since the years 2018-2020, it took more than a decade for the first mining companies to throw themselves into the game of seabed exploitation.
Since then, several sites have been investigated mainly by the major mining groups in Australia, holding an advantageous geographical position. Pacific external actors (mainly regional companies such as the Chinese and Canadian) have taken longer to obtain their operating licenses from the International Seabed Authority.
But significant international pressure during the UN General Assembly meetings, and support to China by Pacific island countries that still depend on China for many infrastructure investments, has allowed the latter finally obtaining its sesame to become a major player in the exploitation of the Pacific seabed.
Faced with the exponential increase of pollution within its borders due to the exploitation of terrestrial mines of rare earths, the Chinese State had already for more than ten years expressed its wish to become a major player in the mining of the seabed to support the pace of its high-tech industry. Having taken the leadership in creating chips and embedded systems for M2M applications that have grown phenomenally, China had no other option but to turn once again to the Pacific.
Indeed, the internal protests became too strong in the face of public health problems, the government could no longer silence the citizen movements of its major cities. He had to find an outside solution.
Of course, in the Pacific, voices are rising, worried about the increase in ocean pollution that this new mining actor will generate. Already Australia is in the spotlight for causing significant pollution in the waters of Papua New Guinea and off the Solomon Islands.
But given the sea currents at work in the Kiribati Islands, which would push pollutants to Japan and the Hawaiian Islands, the protests will be much more audible! What will be the reaction of the United States and Japan? The debates to come will tell us more but already, the pieces move, as usual good now, on the chessboard of the Pacific, favorite playground of the great powers!