The International Seabed Authority (ISA) and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation have signed a 15-year contract for exploration for cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts within the Magellan Mountains in the Pacific Ocean.
The contract was signed on 10 March 2015, in New York by the Deputy to the Secretary-General and Legal Counsel of the International Seabed Authority, Michael Lodge, and the First Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation, Denis G. Khramov.
The application for an exploration contract was approved by the Council of the International Seabed Authority on 21 July 2014.
The area allocated to the Contractor consists of 150 blocks, each being 20 square kilometres in size and distributed over four guyots within an area of 440 kilometres x 206 kilometres, ISA informed.
The objectives of the Contractor are as follows:
– to define priority areas for more detailed exploration with a view to demarcating potential cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts deposits during the first five years;
– to allocate the deposits and cobalt crusts reserves for mining during the second five-year period; and
– to select blocks for potential exploitation within the localized fields and to identify potentially recoverable cobalt crusts in the final five-year period.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation also holds a contract for exploration for polymetallic sulphides in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge which was signed on 29 October 2012.