INTEROCEANMETAL Joint Organization (10M), established in 1987, is an intergovernmental body created to carry out exploration and exploitation of polymetallic nodules in the Pacific" s Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone. IOM, certified by the governments of Bulgaria, Cuba, Czech Republic, Poland, Russian Federation, and Slovak Republic, received its Certificate of Registration in 1992; in 1995, IOM was granted the Certificate of Compliance. The paper presents the history of 10M, summarises its achievements, and outlines challenges the Organization is facing in view of obligations required of pioneer investors by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea, adopted in December 1982, opened a possibility for many countries, including those of the Eastern Europe, to enter the stream of international efforts aimed at exploration and exploitation of oceanic seabed resources. Despite the fact that the economic climate of the present day is not supportive of polymetallic nodule exploitation on the deep seabed, the registered pioneer investors persist in their efforts to improve mining and processing methods and to learn more about the environment of the prospective operations. The group of registered pioneer investors includes Interoceanmetal Joint Organization (10M).
TOM was brought to life in 1987 and began its work, based on an Intergovernmental Agreement between Bulgaria, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, German Democratic Republic, Poland, Vietnam, and the USSR, to carry out exploration of the polymetallic nodules from the deep ocean bottom in order to prepare future exploitation of the resource for the benefit of the member states. IOM has survived changes in the political and economic system that have taken place in the Eastern European countries and is at present certified by the governments of Bulgaria, Cuba, Czech Republic, Poland, Russian Federation, and Slovak Republic.