Russia gets right to explore polysulfide deposits in Atlantic

UN, August 6 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia has won the right for exploration and prospecting of polysulfide deposits in the Atlantic Ocean. The International Seabed Authority /ISA/ approved Russia’s bid of December 2010 for the operations.

This decision was made in Kingston /Jamaica/ at the 17th annual session of the ISA, which was attended by 90 member-countries of the UN International Convention on Sea Law. Apart from Russia’s bid, the session approved applications for exploration of mineral resources on the seabed filed by China, Tonga and Nauru.

Russian companies hope to explore the south-western part of the Atlantic Ocean to see if there are polymetal sulphides there. Ores /sulphides/ lie deep in volcanic regions on the ocean floor. Scientists believe these massive deposits may contain significant concentrations of non-ferrous metals, particularly zinc, copper, gold, silver and lead. The plan is to develop one of the world’s largest untapped fields, where the shares of copper and gold are by five to ten times more than in onshore fields.

The site, which Russia will explore, is located in the northern zone of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Sulphide ores there at the depth of 2-4 kilometres.

According to the Ministry of Natural Resources, Saint-Petersburg- based state-run VNIIOkeangeologia and Polar Marine Geological Expedition will execute the contract. The contract’s term is 15 years, renewable for five years.

A company under the contract will receive a preferential right to develop the deposits. In this case, they will be liable for resource rents payable to ISA.

ISA was established in 1994 under the UN Convention on the sea law of the Sea in 1982 as an independent agency of the mentioned Convention. It was signed by 119 states at a conference in Montego Bay /Jamaica/ and came into force 12 years after signing.


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