Law of the sea: Deep-ocean mining



It has taken 14 years for the Law of the Sea Convention to adopt an agreement to control and regulate activities by nations on the world's ocean floors. Of particular concern to the United States was the subject of deep ocean mining; adoption of the convention's draft was voted on at United Nations headquarters this past April 30th (see Eos, June 1, p. 523). The United States voted not to adopt the draft; the Reagan administration announced that the President will not sign the Law of the Sea Convention later this year when it is opened for signature in Caracas, Venezuela. There is a lot at stake from the standpoint of both the need for strategic metals, such as manganese, that exist on the deep-ocean floor and the protection of the technology of ocean-floor mining. Regulations on deep-ocean mining practices could threaten the interests of the major nations.