16) According to the ISA, polymetallic nodules
are only profitable when the yield exceeds 10 kg/[m.
But these deposits are potentially valuable, the former containing commercially viable amounts of gold, silver, copper and zinc; and the latter being similar to polymetallic nodules
, but with more cobalt.
The existence of rules, regulations and procedures for exploring polymetallic nodules
, the impending rules for sulfides and cobalt crusts and the process for developing and approving contracts for development provide the procedural basis to ensure that deep seabed mineral development can begin with minimal delay after metal markets rise in the future, to the benefit of both miners and consumers.
Under the exploration licence, OMS intends to conduct environmental studies and to survey for deposits of polymetallic nodules
within the approved area.
In his address, the ISA Secretary-General spoke on the various functions of the Authority and its work on the applications for approval of plans of work for exploration for the three types of mineral resources in the Area (applications), the on-going work by contractors for exploration in the Area (contracts), the status of current work on the preparation of an exploitation code for deep seabed polymetallic nodules
mining, capacity building, and marine environmental protection.
The Commission has, since its inception developed the Regulations on Prospecting and Exploration for Polymetallic Nodules
in the Area; the Regulations on Prospecting and Exploration for Polymetallic Sulphides in the Area and the Regulations on Prospecting and Exploration for Cobalt-Rich Ferromanganese Crusts in the Area.
On 27 December 2013, the Cook Islands Investment Corporation (CIIC), which is a Cook Islands state enterprise, submitted an application for approval of a plan of work for exploration for polymetallic nodules
in a reserved area.