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The International Seabed Authority has entered into 15-year contracts for exploration for polymetallic nodules and polymetallic sulphides in the deep seabed with thirteen contractors pursuant to resolution II of the Third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea. Eleven of these contracts are for exploration for polymetallic nodules in the Clarion Clipperton Fracture Zone with two contracts for exploration for polymetallic sulphides in the South West Indian Ridge and the Mid Atlantic Ridge. A further four contracts are in the process of being completed. The conclusion of contracts allow these contractors to explore specified parts of the deep oceans outside national jurisdiction.

Under the Regulations, each contractor has the exclusive right to explore an initial area of up to 150,000 square kilometers. Over the first eight years of the contract, half of this area is to be relinquished. Each contractor is required to propose a programme for the training of nationals of developing States. The training programme, as agreed with the Authority, is incorporated into the contract as schedule 3. Each contractor is also required to submit an annual report on its programme of activities.

Prior to the commencement of its programme of activities under the contract, each contractor is also required to submit to the Secretary-General a contingency plan to respond effectively to incidents arising from its activities in the exploration area. The signature of these exploration contracts gives practical and real effect to the single regime for the Area established by the 1982 Convention and the 1994 Agreement and as such represents a significant step forward for the international community.
Taken from the ISA website

Contractors providing images for this Atlas