ISA Council Considers Secretariat Note On Regulatory Framework For Nodules Exploitation

In the wake of renewed interest in potential commercial exploitation for deep seabed minerals, the Council of the International Seabed Authority reviewed a summary Secretariat note from a technical report that provided a framework for polymetallic nodule exploitation in the Area.

The Council also reached consensus on its response to a joint venture proposal with the Enterprise, the future mining arm of the Authority, submitted by Nautilus Minerals Inc., a company incorporated in Canada. The proposal was the subject of a report by the Interim Director-General of the Enterprise (ISBA/19/C/4).

Resuming its discussion on the report on the joint venture proposal, the Council reviewed a revised text of the paragraph on a request that the Secretary-General carry out a study of the issues concerning the operation of the Enterprise. The Council reached agreement on the English text, which reads:

The Council requests the Secretary-General, referring where appropriate to the Legal and Technical Commission and the Finance Committee, to carry out a study of the issues relating to the operation of the Enterprise as contained in ISBA/19/C/6, in particular on the legal, technical and financial implications for the Authority and for States parties, taking into account the provisions of the Convention, the 1994 Agreement and the Regulations.

It is premature for the Enterprise to function independently.
The proposal for a joint venture between Nautilus and the Enterprise should no longer be an impediment to the consideration by the Legal and Technical Commission and the Council of applications for reserved areas by developing countries and other qualified applicants.