China Minmetals Corporation (CMC), an exploration contractor sponsored by the Government of the People’s Republic of China, has informed the Secretariat of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) of the launch of a stakeholder consultation on the environmental impact statement prepared for the testing of its prototype polymetallic nodule collector vehicle. The CMC signed its 15-year exploration contract for the exploration of polymetallic nodules in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone in the Pacific Ocean on 12 May 2017 with ISA.

CMC plans to conduct a test of its nodule prototype collector vehicle to collect polymetallic nodules from a depth ranging from 5,000 to 5,500 metres between July and October 2025. This should allow CMC to validate the nodule collector’s efficiency, reliability and economic feasibility. Environmental monitoring to evaluate potential impact on deep-sea ecosystems will be conducted simultaneously. This prototype will operate in Block A-5 of the CMC’s contract area.

The testing proposed by CMC is a prerequisite for assessing potential environmental impacts as outlined in the Recommendations for the guidance of contractors for the assessment of the possible environmental impacts arising from exploration for marine minerals in the Area adopted in 2020 and revised in 2023 by the Legal and Technical Commission.

In this context, this public consultation is intended to serve as a platform for all interested stakeholders to review and provide feedback on the environmental impact statement. The consultation period will close on 31 May 2024.

To access the stakeholder consultation portal, click here.

About ISA

The International Seabed Authority (ISA) is an autonomous international organization mandated by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to protect the seabed for the shared benefit of humankind. As a science-based organization acting as Trustee for the protection and sustainable management of the Area and its minerals, ISA is committed to the principle that all nations of the world should benefit from responsible, sustainable and regulated economic activities in the deep seabed, including deep-seabed mining. ISA works to ensure that the voices of all States and stakeholders, including developing States and civil society organizations, are effectively heard in discussions around the sustainable development of the deep seabed.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Ms. Jaimie Abbott, Communications Specialist, ISA,