The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea defines the Area as the seabed and ocean floor and subsoil thereof, beyond the limits of national jurisdiction.

That Area covers 64 % of the ocean floor and can not be claimed by states, companies or individuals. This treaty also stipulates that the Area and its mineral resources are a common heritage for humankind, on behalf of whom the International Seabed Authority acts.

Minerals can only be mined from the Area in accordance with the provisions of Part XI of the Convention of the Law of the Sea and with the rules, regulations and procedures of the Authority mentioned above.

A company or person can only submit an application for an exploration or exploitation contract to the authority if:

  • he is a national or under the supervision of a state that has agreed to the Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Convention on the Implementation of Part XI of the Law of the Sea Convention, and
  • this state supports his request.

More information on this topic can be found on the following pages:

Last update
7 January 2021