KINGSTON, JAMAICA, 23 July 2012 – – The workload of the International Seabed Authority is set to increase dramatically with the approval, by its Council in Kingston this afternoon, of five new plans of work for exploration of marine minerals in the deep oceans.

Approval of the plans brings the number of active exploration contracts issued by the Authority to 17, compared to only eight in 2010.

The action of the 36-member Council followed the recommendations of the Legal and Technical Commission, the Authority’s expert body, in a report presented this morning.

In a debate on the applications, the Council indicated that its decision would contain wording to indicate to contractors that they would be liable to assume costs related to the ongoing management of contracts, pursuant to Regulation 30 – Periodic review of the implementation of the plan of work for exploration.

The applicants are listed below in the order they were received by the Legal and Technical Commission):

a. Government of the Republic of Korea (submitted 21 May 2012)

b. Institut français de recherche pour l’exploitation de la mer (IFREMER) (submitted 23 May 2012)

c. UK Seabed Resources Ltd. (submitted 23 May 2012)

d. Marawa Research and Exploration Ltd (submitted 30 May 2012)

e. G-TEC Minerals Resources NV (submitted 31 May 2012)

The Republic of Korea and IFREMER submitted applications to explore for polymetallic sulphides while UK Seabed Resources Ltd, Marawa Research and Exploration Ltd and G-TEC Sea Minerals Resources NV from Belgium, applied for approval for the exploration of polymetallic nodules.