Secretary General Opens Mining ConferenceIllustration: From ISA annual report 2021

Secretary General Opens Mining Conference

World-renowned experts come to Bergen in October in order to discuss a multitude of challenges and opportunities related to deep-sea exploration and mining.

Michael W. Lodge, Secretary General of the International Seabed Authority (ISA), has kindly accepted the invitation to open the conference NCS Exploration – Deep Sea Minerals 2021 on October 20.

The conference is targeting industry professionals, environmental groups, policymakers, the geoscience community, and other stakeholders who are eager to learn more about an emerging global industry and how Norway is preparing for the 1st licensing round for deep-sea minerals.

As the need for critical minerals is now expected to be greater than the supply from the mining industry and recycling, Norway is in an excellent position to become a leader in the exploration for deep-sea minerals. The race has started, and at this conference, we will address challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, not only for Norway and other nations having the right to issue licenses, but for the entire world, i.e. the deep seabed and subsoil beyond national jurisdiction.

Michael Lodge has an MSc in marine policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Prior to his election as Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority in July 2016, he had served as Deputy to the Secretary-General and Legal Counsel.

“The deep seabed beyond national jurisdiction covers 54% of the world’ ocean. Today, it is the frontier for cutting-edge marine science and deep-sea exploration.” Source: ISA

With 28 years of experience as a public international lawyer, Michael Lodge has a strong background in the field of law of the sea as well as ten years’ judicial experience in the UK and South Pacific.

With extensive knowledge of the United Nations and other international organizations, Michael Lodge has facilitated high-level multilateral and bilateral negotiations at international and regional level. His significant achievements include his pivotal role in the ISA from its inception in 1996 and in helping to create and implement the first international regulatory regime for seabed mining.

167 states and the European Union are members of ISA.

ISA provides an international and transparent forum to regulate and manage all mineral resources related activities and ensure protection of the marine environment in the “Area”, the deep seabed and subsoil beyond national jurisdiction, for the benefit of all humanity.

The mission of ISA is to organize and control activities in the deep seabed beyond national jurisdiction to ensure the safe and rational management of its mineral resources in line with UNCLOS and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This means ensuring that commercial deep-seabed mining follows the highest environmental standards and that the economic benefits are equitably shared among all States.

Areas being explored under contract to the ISA are located in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ), the Indian Ocean, the Mid Atlantic Ridge (MAR), the South Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, as shown in the map below.

“Under the Unites Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea the mineral resources of the deep seabed are designated as the common heritage of all mankind.” Source: ISA


NCS Exploration – Deep Sea Minerals 2021 – programme