The first step toward implementing national seabed mining legislation has been taken by publishing proposed deep seabed mining regulations. Under the 1980 Deep Seabed Hard Mineral Resources Act, which encourages continued development of American seabed mining technology, the proposed regulations were due by March, with final regulations being due by September. In addition to developing rules for American seabed miners, the act authorized recognition of licenses issued by other seabed mining nations and encourages entry into force of an acceptable law of the sea treaty.
Provisions of the act consistent with a law of the sea treaty will remain in effect if such a treaty comes into force for the United States. Implementation of the act, including establishing reciprocal arrangements with other nations that enact ocean mining legislation, will provide a more stable investment climate for the seabed mining industry and will encourage early exploitation of manganese, cobalt, nickel, and copper from deep seabed manganese nodules. The U.S. imports virtually all of its manganese, cobalt, and nickel. Seabed mining could make the U.S. self-sufficient in these metals.