On 27 February 2023, the International Seabed Authority (ISA) and the China Ocean Mineral Resources Research and Development Association (COMRA) signed a five-year contract extension for the exploration for polymetallic nodules in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone in the Pacific Ocean. This contract extension was signed during a ceremony held in Kingston, Jamaica, in the presence of the Vice-Minister of Natural Resources (Administrator of Oceanic Administration) of China, Mr. Hong Wang and the Permanent Representative of the People’s Republic of China to ISA, H.E. Mr. Daojiang Chen.
This is a second five-year extension that has been granted to COMRA. The initial contract for exploration was signed on 22 May 2001 for 15 years and extended for a five-year period in 2016. On 6 December 2021, the Council of ISA approved a second application for an extension by COMRA (ISBA/26/C/54).
The five-year extension, granted on the basis that the contractor will be in a position to proceed to exploitation at the end of the extension period, will allow COMRA to conduct remaining activities regarding the exploration of mineral resources, environmental impact assessment, and development of mining technology and mineral processing technology for polymetallic nodules.
“I wish to congratulate COMRA on the extension of the contract and their commitment to contribute to improving our understanding of the deep sea and its environment for the benefit of all,” said H.E. Mr. Michael W. Lodge, Secretary-General of ISA, during the ceremony.
The Secretary-General of COMRA, Mr. Changbin Wu, expressed his sincere thanks to the Ministry of Natural Resources of China and ISA for their long-term support and guidance. “The contract area for polymetallic nodules in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone is the first exploration contract area for which COMRA applied. COMRA has been conducting exploration work and environmental surveys in the Area for more than 20 years, faithfully implementing the contract and fulfilling its obligations. During the extension period, COMRA will implement the extended contract under the guidance of the Chinese government and in strict accordance with the Exploration Regulations,” Mr. Wu said.
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