A new and significant development in the work of the International Seabed Authority was reached in Kingston this morning when the Authority’s Council decided to approve the plans of work for exploration of cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts submitted by two corporations sponsored by China and Japan.

Acting on the recommendation of the Legal and Technical Commission, the Council approved the applications by China Ocean Mineral Resources Research and Development Association (COMRA), and Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) and requested the Secretary-General of the Authority to issue the plans of work for exploration in the form of contracts between the Authority and the two entities. 

These will become the first two contracts issued since the Authority adopted Regulations on prospecting and exploration for cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts in the Area in 2012.

Cobalt crusts are rich in iron/manganese (ferromanganese), and hydroxide/oxide deposits containing significant concentrations of cobalt, titanium, nickel, platinum, molybdenum, tellurium, cerium, other metallic and rare earth elements.