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JAMAICA, Kingston (27 March 2018) - - The Republic of Korea and the Authority have signed a 15-year contract for exploration for cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts.
The contract was signed by Secretary General Michael Lodge and Mr. Young-Choon Kim, Minister of Oceans and Fisheries on behalf of the Republic of Korea on the 27 March 2018 in Seoul.
The contract covers an exploration area of 3,000 km2 and consists of 150 blocks, each with an area of 20 km2 located east of the Northern Mariana Islands in the Western Pacific Ocean.
In his statement at the signing ceremony, Secretary-General Lodge highlighted that "[The] wealth of experience and knowledge [acquired by the Republic of Korea in exploration activities over the years] is of great value to the Authority in its mission to improve the living conditions of all humanity by enabling access to critical minerals, and in particular promoting better cooperation with developing States. It is encouraging to see, therefore, that cooperation between the Authority and the Republic of Korea."
Secretary-General Lodge also expressed appreciation to the Republic of Korea on its cooperation with the Authority and other contractors in the forthcoming international workshop, to be held in China in May 2018, to develop a regional environmental management plan for cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts in the Pacific Ocean.
The Republic of Korea also holds a contract for the exploration for polymetallic polymetallic sulphides in the Central Indian Ridge since 2014 and a contract for the exploration for polymetallic nodules in the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone since 2001, and for which a five-year extension was signed in 2017.
With this signature, the Authority has entered into 29 exploration contracts. Seventeen of these are for exploration for polymetallic nodules in the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone (16) and Central Indian Ocean Basin (1). Seven contracts for exploration for polymetallic sulphides in the South West Indian Ridge, Central Indian Ridge and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and five contracts for exploration for cobalt-rich crusts in the Western Pacific Ocean.
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