The Mining Code: Standards and Guidelines


Background

The draft regulations on exploitation of mineral resources in the Area (ISBA/25/C/WP.1) require that certain standards and guidelines be developed by the organs of ISA to support the implementation of the regulations. The standards will be legally binding on contractors and ISA, whereas the guidelines will be recommendatory in nature.

During the 25th session, the Council requested that the Legal and Technical Commission (LTC) undertake work on standards and guidelines as a matter of priority, noting the proposed process and schedule for the development of standards and guidelines contained in ISBA/25/C/19/Add.1, Annex and Enclosures I and II. The LTC recommended a three-phase approach, as follows:

  • Phase 1: Standards and guidelines deemed necessary to be in place by the time of adoption of the draft regulations on exploitation.
  • Phase 2: Standards and guidelines deemed necessary to be in place prior to the receipt of an application of a plan of work for exploitation.
  • Phase 3: Standards and guidelines deemed necessary to be in place before commercial mining activities commence in the Area.

The process recommended by the LTC for the development of these standards and guidelines includes the circulation of the drafts for stakeholder consultations. As of July 2021, two stakeholder consultations have taken place (20 August to 20 October 2020 and 8 April to 3 July 2021).


Draft standards and guidelines under phase 1

The following draft standards and guidelines have been prepared so far. Please note that these documents are unedited drafts and provided for the limited purpose of stakeholder consultation and not for citation or other uses. 


Stakeholder consultations on the draft standards and guidelines

2021

A consultation took place from 8 April to 3 July 2021 on the following standards and guidelines under Phase 1. 

  • Draft guidelines for the establishment of baseline environmental data
  • Draft standard and guidelines for environmental impact assessments
  • Draft guidelines for the preparation of an environmental impact statement
  • Draft guidelines for the preparation of an environmental management and monitoring plans
  • Draft guidelines on tools and techniques for hazard identification and risk assessment
  • Draft standard and guidelines for the safe management and operation of mining vessels and installations
  • Draft standard and guidelines for the preparation and implementation of emergency response and contingency plans

Comments received are available here

2020

A consultation took place from 20 August to 20 October 2020 on the following standards and guidelines under Phase 1. 

  • Draft guideline on the preparation and assessment of an application for the approval of a Plan of Work for exploitation
  • Draft standard and guidelines on the development and application of environmental management systems
  • Draft standard and guidelines on the form and calculation of an environmental performance guarantee

The comments received are available here.


Overview of the status of preparation of standards and guidelines

S&G updated