International Seabed Authority

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Recently, the International Seabed Authority has decided that it will start taking permit applications from companies that want to mine the ocean floor.

About International Seabed Authority:

  • It is an autonomous international organization established under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
  • Mandate: It has the mandate to ensure the effective protection of the marine environment from harmful effects that may arise from deep-seabed-related activities.
  • It has its headquarters in Kingston, Jamaica
  • Its primary function is to regulate the exploration of poly-metallic nodules.

What are poly-metallic nodules?

  • Polymetallic nodules are rounded accretions of manganese and iron hydroxides that cover vast areas of the seafloor.
  • These are most abundant on abyssal plains at water depths of 4000-6500 metres.
  • They are mainly found in the north-central Pacific Ocean, the southeastern Pacific Ocean, and the northern Indian Ocean.


Q1) What are Abyssal plains?

Abyssal plains occur on the bottom of a seabed from roughly 10,000 to 20,000 feet below sea level. The majority of the world’s abyssal plains are found within The Atlantic Ocean, although they are in all seas on Earth. These plains are made up of silt, sediment and sand that blanket the original ocean floor, forming a smooth, flat plain.

Source: UN to start allowing deep sea mining operations from July: What are the concerns?