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Delegates for the Development of Standards & Guidelines Multi-stakeholder Workshop. Photo courtesy ISA.

Setting the Standard: Progress on the development of Standards and Guidelines for the ISA Mining Code

In the impressive Department of International Relations and Cooperation in Pretoria, over 80 national delegates, members of the International Seabed Authority Secretariat, contractors, industry professionals, NGO representatives and academics, covering a wide range of skills and expertise, gathered last week. They were tasked with not only prioritizing the list of Standards and Guidelines to support […]

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Negotiations continue for Biodiversity Protection in the High Seas

From March 25th to April 5th, hundreds of delegates gathered at the United Nations headquarters in Manhattan to continue work on one of the most consequential ocean-based treaty negotiations in recent memory. It was the second of four planned intergovernmental conference sessions to establish a new, legally binding instrument for the conservation and sustainable use […]

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Trying to Grasp the Financial Model

The Financial Model, the mechanism by which the ideals built into the founding principles of the ISA—that mineral resources in the high seas are the common heritage of humankind—are manifested in practice, is perhaps the most challenging component of launching any deep-sea mining venture. The financial model is predictive, based on myriad assumptions about what […]

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Delegates gather during an informal meeting. Photo courtesy ISA.

The Five Most Talked about Moments from the ISA Council Meeting

It was a cool week in Kingston as representatives from member states, observers, NGOs, and other stakeholders gathered at the International Seabed Authority to continue the quarter-century-long process of guiding mineral extraction in the high seas towards production. Discussions were broad in vision, focused in scope, and soberingly detailed. While everything from the percentage points […]

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A polymetallic nodule from the Clarion Clipperton Fracture Zone, purchased from an online dealer. 

Nodules for sale: tracking the origin of polymetallic nodules from the CCZ on the open market. 

You can buy a 5-lb bag of polymetallic nodules from the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone on Amazon, right now. Depending on your vantage point and how long you’ve participated in the deep-sea mining community, this will either come as a huge surprise or be completely unexceptional. Prior to the formation of the International Seabed Authority, there […]

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Cut rock samples from the Rio Grande Rise show Fe-Mn crusts (black and gray) growing on various types of iron-rich substrate rocks (pale to dark brown). Photo credit: Kira Mizell, USGS.

A lost continent rich in cobalt crusts could create a challenging precedent for mineral extraction in the high seas.

The Rio Grande Rise is an almost completely unstudied, geologically intriguing, ecologically mysterious, potential lost continent in the deep south Atlantic. And it also hosts dense cobalt-rich crusts. The Rio Grande Rise is a region of deep-ocean seamounts roughly the area of Iceland in the southwestern Atlantic. It lies west of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge off […]

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Polymetallic Nodule and Sulphide Mining to Scale

To better help stakeholders visualize the scale of Polymetallic Nodule and Seafloor Massive Sulphide mining, we created this short info-graphic highlighting the size of the vehicles and vessels (base on photographs and best available information) as well as the scope of the mining leases in the CCZ and Papua New Guinea with respect to the […]

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A strange spoon worm, an elegant sea pen, a stalked crinoid, and two xenophyophores with brittle stars. Credit: Mountains in the Sea 2004. NOAA Office of Ocean

All in the same boat: negotiations for biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction begin

Harriet Harden-Davies | 15 November 2018 “This is a chance to take a course correction while we still can…if we pull together, we can make it”. Rena Lee, president­­ of the intergovernmental conference—fondly referred to as Madame Captain—set an ambitious, positive and suitably nautical tone to open historic negotiations on 4 September 2018 at the […]

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