BRUSSELS - Belgian firm GSR, subsidiary of dredging group DEME, is dying to go to the deep sea to mine for metal nodules. Ten years ago, GSR applied for an initial licence to do so.

The Belgian state sponsored that application to the Seabed Authority in Kingston. Since then, GSR and Belgian administrations have been intimately intertwined. So intimately that DEME-GSR has at times acted impertinently. This is evidenced by hundreds of emails going back and forth between the two parties. One notable aim of DEME-GSR: the firm wants to speak to the Seabed Authority itself, rather than Belgian diplomacy. 'Because we invest hundreds of millions,' the firm reasons, 'we are entitled to do so'. Sometimes DEME-GSR even says so out loud.

Raf Custers

Raf Custers (°1954) is a Belgian historian and journalist.
€ 3.500 allocated on 13/12/2021.