Deep Sea Anarchy: Mining at the Frontiers of International Law

In: The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law
Jan-Stefan Fritz Institute for Intercultural and International Studies, University of Bremen Bremen Germany

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For the first time, new sources of minerals are likely to be exploited in the deep seas in an area beyond national jurisdiction. Deep-sea mining encompasses the potential for cooperation and/or competition between the most technologically and economically advanced States and those aspiring to join this group. The community of States recognized this potential early on and signed new treaties, established new international institutions, and promised new levels of cooperation. Most importantly, they also set a standard according to which the exploration for and exploitation of these new resources are to be governed, namely in the context of the Common Heritage of Mankind. This article assesses what progress has been made in the past forty years on defining and implementing the Common Heritage of Mankind as a normative and legal framework for governing the exploration for and exploitation of marine minerals in the deep seas.

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