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Deep-Sea Mining: Dispute Resolution Under ISA Regulation

In part two of our series about international deep-sea mining regulation, Louise Woods and Elena Guillet explain what miners need to know about dispute resolution under the different regimes involved in exploration agreements.

Deep-sea mining activities in the seabed and ocean floor beyond national jurisdiction, including the collection of polymetallic nodules, are governed by the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the agreement relating to the implementation of part XI of UNCLOS. This regulatory framework is centred around the International Seabed Authority (ISA).

In the first part of the series, Louise and Elena looked at how a contractor – such as a corporation, entity, or individual – can only apply for the right to exploit the minerals on the international seabed once it is sponsored by a state party to UNCLOS. However, the single most important contract for contractors will be the exploitation contract with the ISA, which effectively grants them access to the minerals and defines their rights and obligations for the exploitation of those minerals.

This second article looks at the dispute settlement mechanism included in the exploitation contract and its relationship with the other dispute mechanisms available to the contractor.

Read part two on Mining Technology.

This information is provided by Vinson & Elkins LLP for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended, nor should it be construed, as legal advice.