Debate: Should the ban on mining be lifted?
Imagine it is 2047. There are calls to review the Antarctic Treaty ban on mining in Antarctica which is up for review next year.Oil reserves are almost completely depleted elsewhere and although the use of renewable resources such as solar and wind energy have increased substantially, the demand for the last remaining reserves is huge.
The price for a barrel of oil is now high which would make oil extraction in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean economically viable and profitable. In addition, climate change has led to the retreat and thinning of ice sheets, making drilling much easier and less dangerous. Arctic resources have been depleted a decade earlier. Other reserves of minerals are also almost exhausted such as iron ore and copper.
Mining companies are campaigning hard to have the ban lifted, while conservationists oppose the move. The Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties have called an emergency meeting to discuss the future of the ban on mining in Antarctica.