The “Exploration and exploitation of deep seabed mineral resources in the Area: challenges for Africa
and opportunities for collaborative research in the South Atlantic Ocean” seminar was held in Abuja, 24-26 March 2009.
It followed a similar sensitization seminar held in Brazil in November 2008, where participants developed a proposal for collaborations by the States bordering the South and Equatorial Atlantic Ocean for increased research on the mineral resources in that part of the Area. The seminar in Nigeria discussed proposal and possible collaboration among the States of the region.
The technical sessions at the seminar were broadly grouped under four themes:
In his opening address, the Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority assured the meeting that the Authority would provide whatever assistance possible to the region in its efforts to develop deep-sea mineral resources. Over 120 participants from different organizations from Nigeria and other western African countries took part in the deliberations where presentations were followed by question and answer sessions. Plenary discussions also centred on the theme of collaboration amongst the countries bordering the South Atlantic region.
The seminar also recommended that the Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority address the next Heads of State meeting of the African Union to sensitize policymakers on marine mineral resources of the Area, and on the need for the region to be actively engaged in this programme, and requested that all African countries participate in the global programme to forestall the possibility of missing out on the benefits accruable from the “Common Heritage of Mankind”.
Presentations made on the known deep-sea mineral resources and the work of the Authority covered different types and distribution of marine mineral resources and the legal framework for activities in the Area, with special emphasis on the regulations for prospecting and exploration for polymetallic nodules.