As a United Nations observer organization, ISA is responsible for overseeing mineral operations on the seafloor in international waters. Their mandate covers a range of crucial issues, including environmental protection, financial arrangements, and law enforcement. The organization plans to finalize these regulations by 2025.
Seabed mining, previously regarded as a distant possibility, has now captured the interest of prospective miners. The focus has turned to the Clarion-Clipperton Zone, a region located between Hawaii and Mexico in the Pacific Ocean. This area holds immense potential due to its abundance of seabed nodules—small rocks containing valuable minerals like manganese, nickel, and cobalt, essential for electric vehicle battery production.
In an exciting move, Canadian seabed mining company, The Metals Company (TMC), has expressed its intention to submit an application for mining by July 2024. This would make TMC the first company to venture into this field. However, TMC has made it clear that it wishes to wait until ISA and its members establish clearer guidelines before proceeding. They anticipate commencing mining operations by the fourth quarter of 2025.
It is worth noting that TMC's mining plans have yet to be discussed within the ISA council. Lodge emphasized this point.