Deep-Sea Mining

Archive Report

Global Issue of Contention

International Treaty Negotiating Impasse

The nations of the world have been meeting twice a year since 1973 in a futile attempt so far to agree on a new international law of the sea. The latest gathering — the seventh session of the Third United Nations Law of the Sea Conference — adjourned Sept. 15 in New York, with little progress to report. Elliot L. Richardson, the chief U.S. negotiator at the conference,1 said at adjournment that not much had been accomplished. But a “momentum toward a settlement” achieved at an earlier session in Geneva had been maintained, he added.

As in other recent sessions, issues over mining the ocean floor beyond the continental shelves provided the chief barrier to a settlement. Third World ...

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