Deep Sea Mining: One International Regime To Rule Them All?

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The second part of 28th Session of the International Seabed Authority’s Council continues in Jamaica with the international community lying anxiously in wait. One major international actor is notably absent from the discussions: the United States. Like a number of other states, the U.S. has signed but not ratified the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (“UNCLOS”). It is thus not a State Party/member state. Non-State Parties to UNCLOS (“NSPs”) are not eligible to participate in the regime. Equally, non-State actors which have the sole nationality of a NSP (e.g. a US mining company) cannot obtain sponsorship or apply to the International Seabed Authority (“ISA”) to explore for or exploit deep seabed resources.1 The question thus arises: will NSPs be bound by the Mining Code the ISA is setting up, or is there a risk of competing legal regimes for deep sea mining beyond national jurisdiction?

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