Deep Sea Mining - Brief History - Laws and Regulations

Laws and Regulations

The most noteworthy regulations on deep sea mining came through the United Nations Conventions on the Law of the Sea from 1973 to 1982, which finally came into force in 1994. The convention set up the International Seabed Authority (ISA), which regulates nations’ deep sea mining ventures outside each nations’ Exclusive Economic Zone (a 200-nautical-mile (370 km) area surrounding coastal nations). The ISA requires nations interested in mining to explore two equal mining sites and turn one over to the ISA, along with a transfer of mining technology over a 10 to 20 year period. This seemed reasonable at the time because it was widely believed that nodule mining would be extremely profitable. However, these strict requirements led some industrialized countries to refuse to sign the initial treaty in 1982.

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