Under the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the International Seabed Authority (ISA) is responsible for organizing and controlling all resources-related explorations and exploition activities in the international seabed area.
Mining and Exploration of the Deep Seabed
The deep seabed offers exploitable mineral concretions in the form of nodules and crusts. Polymetallic nodules are rock concretions formed of concentric layers of iron and manganese hydroxides around a core. Cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts occur throughout the global ocean on seamounts, ridges, and plateaus where currents have kept the rocks swept clean of sediments for millions of years. ISA adopts regulations governing prospecting and exploration of seabed mineral resources and it issues contracts (licences) for these activities.
A technology commonly used to map the bottom of the deep ocean can also detect gas seeps in the water column with remarkably high fidelity, according to scientists from the University of New Hampshire and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).