On 19 March 2024, the Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) and the Managing Director of JSC Yuzhmorgeologiya signed the second five-year extension agreement of the contract granted by ISA to JSC Yuzhmorgeologiya for the exploration of polymetallic nodules in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone located in the Pacific Ocean on 29 March 2001.

Initially granted a 15-year exploration contract, JSC Yuzhmorgeologiya received its first five-year extension in 2016. Following a thorough evaluation, the ISA Council approved a second extension request (ISBA/26/C/50) on 6 December 2021, recognizing the contractor’s readiness to progress towards exploitation after this period. This extension will allow JSC Yuzhmorgeologiya to assess nodule resources with a higher level of geological knowledge and confidence to plan for exploitation and progress with the best approach for their extraction.

“I very much welcome the signing of this extension agreement as a testament to the renewed commitment by JSC Yuzhmorgeologiya and the Russian Federation, as sponsoring State, to make all necessary efforts to comply with the requirements set out by the exploration contract granted by ISA in good faith and, more importantly, the overall regime set out by Part XI of United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 1994 Agreement,” said ISA Secretary-General, H.E. Mr. Michael W. Lodge during the signing ceremony.

“The contribution of JSC Yuzhmorgeologiya throughout 23 years of exploration of the Area, under the contract signed with ISA, has been critical in advancing global knowledge and understanding of the deep sea and its ecosystems. Such knowledge has already benefited humankind greatly. Moreover, as ISA Members progress in their discussions for the elaboration of robust exploitation regulations, the work of contractors continues to be the primary source of science and knowledge that informs the design of a unique global regime for the co-management of a global commons,” he added.

Mr. Alexey Prokofyev, Managing Director of JSC Yuzhmorgeologiya, highlighted their commitment to progress further in the implementation of the plan of work: “We hope that our scientific and technical capabilities will allow us to implement our plans. Today we can report that, as part of the training programme for this extended five-year period, the contractor JSC Yuzhmorgeologiya conducted training for six trainees. In 2024, we will train four additional trainees out of the planned ten.”

About ISA

The International Seabed Authority (ISA) is an autonomous international organization mandated by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to protect the seabed for the shared benefit of humankind. ISA is committed to the principle that all nations of the world should benefit from responsible, sustainable and regulated economic activities in the deep seabed, including deep seabed mining and the potential resources the deep seabed holds for a global green transition. ISA works to ensure that the voices of all states and stakeholders, including developing states, civil society organizations and all ISA Member States, are effectively heard in discussions around the sustainable development of the deep seabed.

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Ms. Jaimie Abbott, Communications Specialist, ISA, jabbott@isa.org.jm

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