The Pacific island nation of Nauru has stated its intention to start deep-sea mining in two years’ time, despite the fact that the International Seabed Authority (ISA), the U.N. body governing this activities, has yet to agree upon overarching rules and regulations. In a letter dated June 25, the Nauru President Lionel Aingimea wrote to the president of the council of the 26th sessions of the ISA to say that its sponsored company, Nauru Ocean Resources Inc. (NORI), “intends to apply for approval of a plan of work for exploitation” within two years. Nauru has been a member of the ISA for the past 25 years, which gives it the authority to notify the ISA of this intention. NORI, a subsidiary of Canadian-owned The Metals Co., formerly DeepGreen Metals, already has a 15-year license to explore for minerals in the Clarion Clipperton Zone (CCZ), a 4.5-million-square-kilometer (1.7-million-square-mile) abyssal plain stretching between Hawai‘i and Mexico that has an abundance of polymetallic nodules — potato-sized rock accretions on the seafloor that contain commercially valuable metals like cobalt, nickel, manganese and copper. Nauru is invoking what’s commonly referred to as a “two-year rule,” a clause in the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) that allows member states to notify the ISA of their intention to start deep-sea mining. This, in turn, requires the ISA to adopt rules, regulations and procedures to govern the proposed mining activity. If this is not achievable, the ISA must at least evaluate the mining proposal…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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