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The International Seabed Authority and the Institut français de recherche pour l'exploitation de la mer (Ifremer) have signed a 15-year contract for exploration for polymetallic sulphides.
The contract was signed in Issy-les-Moulineaux, France on 18 November 2014 by the Secretary-General of the Authority, Nii Allotey Odunton and the President-Managing Director of Ifremer, François Jacq.
The exploration area is located along the mid-Atlantic Ridge and is composed of 100 blocks with a surface area of approximately 10 kilometres by 10 kilometres each; arranged in six clusters of 5 to 25 blocks.
The application for a seabed exploration contract which was approved by the Council of the Authority on 26 July 2012 is the second for Ifremer. Its first contract for exploration for polymetallic nodules in the Clarion Clipperton Fracture Zone was signed in June 2001.