Extensions of the first set of exploration contracts, new applications for approval of plans of work for exploration and the development of draft regulations for exploitation of polymetallic nodules in the deep seabed beyond the limits of national jurisdiction (the Area) are among priority issues to be debated as the twenty-second annual session of the International Seabed Authority (ISA).
The event will take place from 11 to 22 July, 2016, in Kingston, Jamaica.
On the extension of contracts, six contracts issued by the Authority in 2001 for the exploration for polymetallic nodules in the Area will expire in 2016.
The contractors have each applied for a five-year extension which were examined by the Authority’s expert body, the Legal and Technical Commission at its first session of 2016 (22 February to 4 March).
The Commission’s recommendations are expected to be considered by the Authority’s executive Council at its July session.
Another priority item on the Commission’s agenda was the development of the draft minerals exploitation regulations for which a time frame of 12 to 18 months for its completion was agreed upon in 2015.
An initial draft text was scheduled to be circulated to all stakeholders in March 2016 for their comments and observations before its submission to the Council in July 2016.