On 4 November 2022, the International Seabed Authority (ISA) and the Interoceanmetal Joint Organization (IOM) signed a 5-year extension agreement for the contract for exploration for polymetallic nodules in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone in the Pacific Ocean. This is the second 5-year extension that has been granted to IOM.

The initial contract for exploration was signed on 29 March 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 IOM (ISBA/26/C/49).

The five-year extension, which is 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 IOM to further update its resource assessment in its contract area, carry out additional environmental baseline studies to improve further its understanding of the environmental impacts of future mining, develop mining and processing technology and perform feasibility studies, among others.

The Secretary-General congratulated IOM on its work so far, noting that “more than 20 years of continuous research in IOM’s contract area has contributed a wealth of environmental data to ISA, such that we all benefit from IOM’s engagement as a contractor,” he said. “I congratulate IOM on the further extension of its exploration contract and its continued commitment to the international regime for deep seabed exploration and exploitation.”

For more on ISA’s contractors, please visit: https://www.isa.org.jm/exploration-contracts