Māori protester takes stand against deep-sea mining off Mexico

Last week off the coast of Manzanillo Mexico, a group of Greenpeace activists protested against deep-sea mining, confronting a deep-sea mining ship returning to port from the Pacific.

James Hita (Ngāti Whatua) was there to protest and said “the metals company show sleek images of a futuristic mining ship [on its website] and seeing the big mining ship with plumes of smoke coming out the top was surreal.”

Hita sent a message to the ship of warning, protest and highlighting the solidarity and opposition to the deep sea mining from around the world.

The ship, the Hidden Gem mining vessel, replied politely with concern about the safety of the protesters, asking them for a wide berth.

Hita said he was motivated to get involved with the Mexico deep sea mining kaupapa even though it was not affecting Māori currently. He said it might affect Māori in the future.

'You can’t go fix those mistakes'

“Deep-sea mining threatens the future of the ocean and therefore threatens the future of the planet and risks putting the climate crisis in a far worse position than it already is.”

Hita said this was one of the first times that Greenpeace had confronted a mining ship and the mining industry.

“The threat that deep sea mining and sea bed mining pose is material harm to the ocean and harm that can’t be mitigated. You can’t just plant a tree, you can’t go and fix those mistakes, so stopping it before it begins is key to protecting the oceans.”