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JOGMEC signs 15-year contract with ISA for seabed exploration of ferromanganese crusts; cobalt, nickel and platinum

27 January 2014

Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) signed a contract for exploration for cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts in the high seas located approximately 600 kilometers offshore of south-east of Minami-Tori-Shima Island, with the International Seabed Authority (ISA). The ferromanganese oxide contains cobalt, nickel, platinum and the like, and forms crust-like shapes on the summits and slopes of seamounts. Its average thickness varies from a few cm to tens of cm in the depth from 1,000m to 2,000m.

ISA controls activities in mineral resources in accordance with United Nations Convention on The Law of the Sea.

According to this contract, JOGMEC ensures a 15-year exclusive right of the exploration right of the crusts. JOGMEC can conduct exploration activity in the view of mining development of rare metals, such as cobalt, nickel, platinum for which Japan depends on supply from overseas.

JOGMEC has been conducting studies of cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts in the Northwest Pacific since 1987, under consignment contract with Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), aimed at understanding its resource potential.

In July 2012, JOGMEC applied for a plan of work for cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts at the same time of enactment of Regulations on Prospection and Exploration for Cobalt-rich Ferromanganese Crusts in the Area by ISA, and reached for signing the contract through making an adjustment with ISA after application approval in July 2013 by ISA.

The signing of the Contract for plan of work for Exploration for Cobalt-Rich Ferromanganese Crusts is the first case for ISA after enactment of the regulations in July 2012.

JOGMEC will begin conducting exploration activity in order to understand resource potential and its possibility of development.

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