Acting on recommendations of the Legal and Technical Commission, the Seabed Council yesterday afternoon approved the plans of work for exploration for polymetallic nodules and polymetallic sulphides in the international deep seabed Area submitted by four entities.

Adopting the four draft decisions (documents ISBA/17/C/2, 3,4 and 5,), as amended during debate, the Council requested the Authority’s Secretary-General to issue them with plans of work in the form of contracts with the Authority in accordance with the relevant regulations.

The entities are Nauru Ocean Resources Inc. (NORI), sponsored by Nauru, and Tonga Offshore Mining Limited (TOML), sponsored by Tonga. They submitted their applications on 31 March 2008 for exploration for nodules in the reserved Area of the Clarion-Clipperton Fractured Zone.

 The other two bodies are China Ocean Minerals Resources Research and Development Association (COMRA), and the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment of the Russian Federation which submitted their applications on 7 May 2010 and on 24 December 2010 respectively, for approval of their plan of work for exploration for polymetallic sulphides in the Area.