KINGSTON, JAMAICA, 5 June 2012 – – The Authority has received five new applications for seabed exploration licences; filed in respect of areas located in the Indian Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.

Speaking at the 22st Meeting of the States Parties to the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in New York, Mr. Nii A. Odunton, the Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority said two of the applications were for exploration for polymetallic sulphides and three were for polymetallic nodules.

The first application from the Government of the Republic of Korea was received 21 May 2012 and is for approval of a plan of work for exploration for polymetallic sulphides with the application area is located in the Central Indian Ocean.

The second application from IFREMER sponsored by the Government of France was submitted 23 May 2012 for approval of a plan of work for exploration for polymetallic sulphides in an area located on the seabed of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

The third application also submitted 23 May 2012 was from the UK Seabed Resources Ltd., company sponsored by the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The area applied for is in the Eastern part of the Clarion-Clipperton Zone in the Pacific Ocean where the Authority has already issued ten contracts for exploration for nodules between 2001 and 2012.

The fourth application was filed on 30 May 2012 by Marawa Research and Exploration Ltd., a state enterprise of the Republic of Kiribati in respect of reserved areas in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone that have been made available for exploration by developing States in accordance with the provisions of Annex III to the Convention and the 1994 Agreement.

The fifth application  was filed on 31 May 2012 by G-Tec Sea Minerals Resources NV, a Belgian company sponsored by the Government of Belgium for areas in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone.

All five applications have been placed on the agenda of the Legal and Technical Commission. Once the Commission has reviewed the applications, it must forward its recommendation to the Council of the Authority, which will then decide whether to approve the applications.

If all these applications are approved, this will bring the number of active exploration contracts issued by the Authority to 17, compared to only 8 in 2010.

The Secretary-General said thee primary function of the Authority is to manage the mineral resources of the deep seabed, which are the common heritage of mankind, on behalf of mankind as a whole. He said the Authority does this strictly in accordance with the provisions of the Convention and the 1994 Agreement through a contract-based licensing system which involves issuing contracts of limited duration to those entities wishing to explore for minerals in the seabed.

Full Text of Secretary-General Speech