January 27, 2014
Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC, President: Hirobumi Kawano) is pleased to announce that it has signed a Contract for Exploration for Cobalt-Rich Ferromanganese Crusts(※), in the high seas located approximately 600 kilo-meters offshore of south-east of Minami-Tori-Shima Island, with International Seabed Authority (ISA) who controls activities in mineral resources of the Area in the high seas in accordance with United Nations Convention on The Law of the Sea today.
According to this Contract, a 15-year exclusive right of the exploration right of Cobalt-Rich Ferromanganese Crusts is ensured and the contract enables JOGMEC to conduct exploration activity in the view of mining development of rare metals, such as cobalt, nickel, platinum of which Japan depends supply from overseas.
JOGMEC has been conducting studies of cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts in the high seas of 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.
From now on, JOGMEC conducts actual exploration activity in order to understand resource potential and its possibility of development, in consideration of production technology and environment preservation.
(※) The Ferromanganese oxide mineral which contains cobalt, nickel, platinum and the like, and forms crust like shape on summit and slope of seamount. Its average thickness varies from a few cm to tens of cm in the depth from 1,000m to 2,000m.
Signed by Nii Allotey Odunton, Secretary General, ISA and HirobumiKawano, President, JOGMEC
Midori Matsushima, State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry ofJapan
(Ms. Matsushima joins as the witness)
Occurrence of Cobalt-rich crust
on summit of seamount
Image of Cobalt-rich crust
Metals Mining Technology Department
Public Relation Division