A review of current environmental studies on a reverence transect in the IOM pioneer area in the Pacific's Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone is presented. Changes in oceanographic, geological, and biological parameters of the 330 km-long sub-longitudinal reference transect were followed and a benthic impact experiment involving disturbance applied to a selected site was carried out to evaluate a potential environmental consequences of nodule mining.
The Interoceanmetal Joint Organization (IOM), representing its certifying states: Bulgaria, Cuba, the Czech Republic, Poland, Russian Federation, and the Slovak Republic was registered as a pioneer investor under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea with a mission to carry out exploration and exploitation of polymetallic modules in the Pacific's CIarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone. The current strategy of the IOM activity stems from the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, in force since 16 November 1994, and the Implementation Agreement related to its Part XI and includes preparation of the plan of work for exploration which bas to be accompanied by an environmental report on potential mining impacts (Kotlinski. 1995). In 1994, 10M began field investigations involving cruises to the environmental reference transect situated in the most promising mining sector B1. The purpose of the studies is to obtain background oceanographic, geological, and biological data based on monitoring of the seasonal variability of those characteristics, to select a site for a benthic disturbance experiment involving a device simulating operations of a nodule collector, to conduct the actual experiment, and to follow the environmental consequences of the impact over a 3-year period beginning in August-September 1996.
The transect is located in the IOM pioneer area's Sector B1, bordering on the OMI claim area to the east and on an area reserved by the International Seabed Authority to the west.