The mining code

The "Mining Code" refers to the whole of the comprehensive set of rules, regulations and procedures issued by the International Seabed Authority to regulate prospecting, exploration and exploitation of marine minerals in the international seabed Area (defined as the seabed and subsoil beyond the limits of national jurisdiction).

All rules, regulations and procedures are issued within a general legal framework established by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and its 1994 Implementing Agreement relating to deep seabed mining.

To date, the Authority has issued Regulations on Prospecting and Exploration for Polymetallic Nodules in the Area (adopted 13 July 2000) which was later updated and adopted 25 July 2013; the Regulations on Prospecting and Exploration for Polymetallic Sulphides in the Area (adopted 7 May 2010) and the Regulations on Prospecting and Exploration for Cobalt-Rich Crusts (adopted 27 July 2012).

These regulations include the forms necessary to apply for exploration rights as well as standard terms of exploration contracts.

The complete set of these regulations will form part of the Mining Code together with recommendations by the Authority's Legal and Technical Commission for the guidance of contractors on the assessment of the environmental impacts of exploration for polymetallic nodules.

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