In July 2015, the Council of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) adopted seven priority deliverables for the development of the exploitation code. The first priority was the development of a zero draft of the exploitation regulations. This article focusses on the second priority deliverable, namely the development of a payment mechanism for exploitation activities, following detailed financial and economic models based on proposed business plans. Between 2015 and 2017, five workshops have been organised with 196 active participants from 34 countries. The results so far are synthesised, drawing upon the outcome of these workshops, ISA technical papers, and the scholarly literature.