Environmental Policy News

ISA Release Draft Proposal of Exploitation Regulations for Deep Sea Mining

This week marks a major step forward towards the delivery of a comprehensive legal regime for deep-seabed mining beyond national jurisdiction with the release of draft regulations on exploitation of the mineral resources in the international seabed area by the Legal and Technical Commission, a 30-member expert advisory body of the International Seabed Authority (ISA).

In light of new developments in science and technology, as well as changing economic circumstances, commercial interest in deep sea mining has grown rapidly in recent years. The development of exploitation regulations is therefore a critical element to regulate this emerging industry.

Deep sea mineral exploration is one of the most tightly regulated uses of the ocean. The new draft exploitation regulations will build on the exploration regulations already in place by ensuring adherence to robust environmental standards, including baseline studies, environmental impact assessments, environmental monitoring and management.

“I want to personally recognize the hard work and dedication of the members of the Legal and Technical Commission, and acknowledge the valuable contributions made by member States as well as other stakeholders to the development of the regulatory framework,” said ISA Secretary-General Mr. Michael W. Lodge.

“As the draft code is transmitted to the Council of the ISA in July this year, we plan to continue this open, inclusive and transparent approach to the development of these regulations,” he added.

ISA has led several rounds of global stakeholder consultation over the last five years to develop the draft exploitation regulations, which will regulate exploitation of deep-sea minerals in a way that supports the commercial recovery of seafloor mineral resources with effective protection for the marine environment.

The draft exploitation regulations will be reviewed by the ISA Council at its 25th Session to be held at the ISA Headquarters in Jamaica from 15 to 19 July 2019.

  • The unedited advance text of the Draft Regulations on exploitation of mineral resources in the Area
  • The unedited advance text of ISBA/25/C/18 Note by the Legal and Technical Commission on the Draft Regulations

Story by ISA

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