The International Seabed Authority (ISA) and China Minmetals Corporation have signed a 15-year exploration contract for polymetallic nodules.

The exploration contract was signed in Beijing, China, by the secretary-general of the International Seabed Authority, Michael Lodge and the chairman of China Minmetals Corporation, He Wenbo.

The allocated area covers a surface area of 72,745 km2 of the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone in the Pacific Ocean.

At the signing ceremony, Lodge said: “China, and indeed the whole world, is facing a tremendous challenge – how can we meet an increasing metal demand in an environmentally sustainable way? In two weeks’ time, we shall be meeting at the United Nations in New York to discuss the challenges for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14; the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean and its resources.”

China  is also sponsoring another contractor with the Authority for the exploration for polymetallic nodules in the Clarion Clipperton Zone since 2001, and for which a five-year extension was signed recently between secretary-general Lodge and COMRA secretary-general Liu Feng.

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