The Council of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) has approved Blue Minerals Jamaica Limited’s plan of work for exploration of polymetallic nodules in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ), making Jamaica, the host country of ISA, the second Caribbean country and the sixth small island developing State to sponsor a contractor for exploration in the Area.
The CCZ, located in the Pacific Ocean, contains rich deposits of polymetallic nodules, which are a source of nickel, cobalt, copper and manganese. Following the approval of its plan of work, Blue Minerals Jamaica Limited will be able to sign a fifteen-year contract with ISA to explore a geographical area in the CCZ covering almost 75,000 km2, made of parts of reserved areas contributed by UK Seabed Resources Ltd, the government of the Republic of Korea and the Interoceanmetal Joint Organization.
The system of so-called “reserved areas” ensures that developing countries can access deep-sea mineral resources. Reserved areas are contributed when States apply to ISA for exploration rights. They are then held in a “site bank” which is reserved for access by developing countries or for the Enterprise.
ISA Secretary-General had received Blue Minerals Jamaica Limited’s application on 4 June 2020. The Legal and Technical Commission reviewed the application during the second part of its meetings held from 6 to 31 July 2020. Confirming that it met the requisite requirements of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the 1994 Agreement and ISA Exploration Regulations, the LTC recommended to the Council that the application is approved, which the Council officially did on 10 December.
Once the contract is signed, the number of contracts granted for exploration of polymetallic nodules will be nineteen and the total number of contracts will be thirty-one.
For more information on the Council’s decision making during the second part of the 26th Session, visit: https://www.isa.org.jm/node/19713