KINGSTON, JAMAICA, 10 July 2012 – -The Legal and Technical Commission (LTC) will today begin to hear oral presentations by the five new applicants for seabed exploration.

The five applicants  are UK Seabed Resources Ltd. (sponsored by the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland); Marawa Research and Exploration Ltd.(a state enterprise of the Republic of Kiribati); G-TECH Sea Mineral Resources NV (sponsored by the Government of Belgium); the Government of the Republic of Korea and IFREMER (sponsored by the Government of France).

Once the Commission has reviewed the applications, it will 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 Commission began its meetings on Monday 9 July.

At its opening session, Russell Howorth (Fiji) was elected Chairman and Christian Reichert (Germany) as Vice-Chairman.

The programme of work for the Commission also includes the consideration of the annual reports of the contractors and the consideration of proposed amendments to the nodules regulations.