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SINGAPORE: The Deep Seabed Mining Bill will allow Singapore companies to enter the emerging deep seabed mining industry and capitalise on growing opportunities, said Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang in Parliament on Thursday (Feb 12).

During a second reading of the Bill, Mr Lim said it aims to establish a licensing regime to regulate the exploration for, and extraction of deep seabed resources by companies sponsored by Singapore. The regime will ensure that companies undertake deep seabed exploration and extraction activities in a responsible manner, and not cause damage to the marine environment.

Penalties will be put in place to serve as a deterrent against potential violations or, in the event of non-compliance, to hold errant companies accountable for their actions. For example, it will be an offence for a Singapore company to engage in deep seabed mining without a license issued by the Minister and a contract with the International Seabed Authority (ISA).

Under the Bill, offenders may be fined up to S$300,000 for an initial offence, and may be subject to a further fine not exceeding S$50,000 daily for a continuing offence, capped at S$500,000.
As an added deterrent, individuals, including company directors who are complicit in the offence, may also be imprisoned for up to 3 months, said Mr Lim. These penalties were benchmarked against those imposed by other countries which have enacted similar legislation, such as the UK, he said.

The Bill also requires that companies meet certain conditions, such as having the technological and financial capabilities to carry out the activity it wishes to conduct, and undertaking necessary measures to minimise damage to the marine environment, before a license can be awarded.

The Minister noted that the Bill will bring Singapore in line with the provisions under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the ISA regulations.

– CNA/av

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