Seabed Mlinerals and the Law of the Sea

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Science  25 Jul 1980:
Vol. 209, Issue 4455, pp. 464-472
DOI: 10.1126/science.209.4455.464


If, as seems likely, a comprehensive law-of-the-sea treaty is successfully concluded, minerals of the continental margins would be almost entirely controlled by coastal nations, and the right to produce minerals of the deep ocean floor would be licensed by an International Seabed Authority. Mineral production from the continental margins is likely to increase and diversify with time. The only minerals from the deep ocean floor for which there are reasonably good prospects of production within the next decade are the metalliferous muds from some of the deeps in the Red Sea (which lie within what is likely to be the jurisdiction of Saudi Arabia and Sudan) and nodules in the northeastern equatorial Pacific that contain recoverable metals, namely nickel, copper, cobalt, and possibly manganese, molybdenum, and vanadium.