A Pacific regional organisation has stepped up its efforts to support member countries in developing a legal framework to allow for deep-sea mineral exploration and mining.
There is little legislation governing deep seabed mining. The world’s first seabed mining activities are set to begin operations in late 2013 in Papua New Guinea waters when Nautilus Minerals is expected to start mining Seafloor Massive Sulphide deposits at 1500 metre water depth off of the coast of New Ireland.
Tonga and Nauru are pursuing exploration licences in international waters in the east Pacific.
“We’re working with Papua New Guinea and providing advice on legal documents as they move towards finalising legislation on seabed mining, and working with Nauru, Tonga, and other island countries that are considering applying to the International Seabed Authority for the granting exploratory licences,” says SOPAC’s Deep Seas Minerals Project legal advisor, Hannah Lily.
More at the SPC-SOPAC website.