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Cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts occur at shallower depths of < 400 to about > 5000 meters in areas of significant volcanic activity. The crusts grow on hard-rock substrates of volcanic origin by the precipitation of metals dissolved in seawater in areas of seamounts, ridges, plateaus and where prevailing currents prevent deposition of unconsolidated sediments and occupy large areas on top of these topography highs. In many cases, the deposits occur within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the countries.
Similar in general composition to the polymetallic nodules, cobalt crusts are attracting investment in exploration for higher cobalt percentage (up to 2 %), platinum (0.0001 %) and Rare Earth Elements (REE) besides Nickel and Manganese.
ISA has entered into five exploration contracts for cobalt-rich crusts with contractors, including JOGMEC (Japan), COMRA (China), Russia, the Republic of Korea and CPRM (Brazil). .
|Contractor||Contract Date||Expiration Date||Sponsoring State||Location||Contract|
|Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC)||27 Jan 2014||26 Jan 2029||Japan||Western Pacific Ocean||Public Information|
|China Ocean Mineral Resources Research and Development Association (COMRA)||29 Apr 2014||28 Apr 2029||China||Western Pacific Ocean||Public Information|
|Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation||10 Mar 2015||09 Mar 2030||-||Magellan Mountains, Pacific Ocean|
|Companhia De Pesquisa de Recursos Minerais||09 Nov 2015||08 Nov 2030||Brazil||Rio Grande Rise, South Atlantic Ocean||Public Information|
|The Republic of Korea||27 Mar 2018||26 Mar 2033||Republic of Korea||Western Pacific Ocean||Public Information|