U.S. leading Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, intervened in a request from her son-in-law on behalf of a deep-sea mining firm to meet with her or other agency officials while she was secretary of state, Associated Press reported.
The 2012 emails from an investor in Florida-based deep sea mining firm Neptune Minerals Inc. were forwarded to Clinton by her son-in-law and hedge fund partner Marc Mezvinsky.
According to AP, Clinton sent the request to Thomas Nides, a vice chairman at Morgan Stanley who at the time was a deputy secretary of state.
It is not known whether the meeting took place. Clinton’s campaign declined to comment on the matter despite AP efforts to get in touch with any of those involved in the story.
At the time of the request, the Obama administration was trying to get the “Law of the Sea Treaty” through the U.S. Congress. Had it passed, the regulation would have helped U.S. mining companies planning to extract resources from the seafloor in international waters.
Miners have been eyeing vast copper, gold and rare earths deposits on the seafloor. But, until now, only Canadian Nautilus Minerals (TSX:NUS) has made enough progress as to forecast it may start digging up copper and precious metals from its Solwara 1 project around Solomon Islands, east of Papua New Guinea, by 2017.
Environmentalists have attacked this and other projects. They argue that mining should be prohibited globally, but in specific areas of the ocean floor, as the activity could upset parts of the world that are essential to the absorption of carbon dioxide, causing long-term damages to the environment.
In July, a group of international scientists asked the International Seabed Authority (ISA) to temporarily halt the approval of new underwater mining contracts until further environmental regulations for the emerging sector are put in place.
While federal ethics guidelines warn against giving preferential treatment to private organizations or individuals, there are no specific bans on considering requests prompted by relatives, the AP said.