Reporting Templates

At ISA's 21st Session in July 2015, the Legal and Technical Commission (LTC) of ISA issued recommendations (ISBA/21/LTC/15) for the guidance of contractors on the content, format and structure of annual reports.

The recommendations should be applied by all contractors with effect from 1 January 2016.

In the recommendations, references to the “Regulations” are collective references to the Regulations on Prospecting and Exploration for Polymetallic Nodules in the Area, the Regulations on Prospecting and Exploration for Polymetallic Sulphides in the Area and the Regulations on Prospecting and Exploration for Cobalt-rich Ferromanganese Crusts in the Area. The references to “clauses” are references to the standard clauses applicable to the particular contract in question.

The purpose of the recommendations is to provide guidance to contractors in relation to the content, format and structure of their annual reports. It includes general requirements for their annual reports and specific guidance for reporting on the exploration under contract for polymetallic nodules, polymetallic sulphides and cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts.

General Requirements 

Annual reports shall be submitted to the Secretary-General by the end of March each year on the activities carried out in the previous year and contain the information specified in section 10 of Annex IV to the Regulations.

Reports should be submitted in hard copy and electronic format and all environmental and geological data should be submitted in a digital and spatially georeferenced format that is compatible with ISA's requirements, using the templates listed below.

Reports should present the results of the work of the reporting year with reference to the approved plan of work for exploration. The contractor should indicate its short-term (1 year), medium-term (5 years) and long-term (10 -15 years) objectives. The reports should also contain information on project management to enable an overview of progress in the implementation of the programme of work and, where applicable, training programmes.

Reports should indicate clearly the actual work carried out during the reporting year.

Specific Guidance 

The recommended content, format and structure of annual reports on the exploration under contract for the three minerals are provided in following annexes in the document ISBA/21/LTC/15:

  • Polymetallic nodules – Annex I
  • Polymetallic sulphides – Annex II
  • Cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts – Annex III

A list of the templates to be used for reporting geological and environmental data is provided in Annex IV.

On 30 September 2021, the Legal and Technical Commission endorsed the updated templates for the reporting of geological and environmental data and metadata for the purpose of submitting annual reports by the contractors, and annex IV to ISBA/21/LTC/15 was amended to that effect (ISBA/26/C/12/Add.2 Par. 38). These amendments have been reflected in ISBA/21/LTC/15/Corr.1 and the updated templates are being provided as below:

ISA’s classification standard for reporting Mineral Exploration Results Assessments, Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves, as adopted by the Commission, is provided in Annex V.



1. Template for reporting geological data (including geophysical, geochemical,
mineralogical and geotechnical data).

 2. Template for reporting environmental data (including biological, ecological and
environmental chemistry data).

3. Template for reporting metadata.


The Secretariat has also created a reporting template guidance document to assist contractors with populating the templates effectively.


All the above files and a set of sample or demonstration files can be retrieved  here.