Deep Sea Mining: Risk and Uncertainty
As we inch closer to potentially unlocking a treasure trove of minerals on the ocean floor, all eyes are on the UN-body International Seabed Authority (ISA). In this article, Louise Woods and Elena Guillet discuss the financial regime of deep-sea mining.
The ISA needs to finalise the rules governing deep-sea mining in international waters, known in legal terms as the Area, which is governed by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) framework. As well as developing the rules, regulations and procedures (RRPs) on exploitation, the ISA also oversees what is considered “the common heritage of mankind.” This immense responsibility means ensuring equitable sharing of financial gains and other benefits from mining the Area’s resources. In simple terms, the ISA must create a system that makes mining companies and broader society stakeholders in this untapped resource. As the clock ticks towards the extended 2025 deadline, stakeholders from all corners will watch the ISA’s next steps keenly.
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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.