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Mrs Sheryll Murray MP, who came fourth in the ballot for Private Members’ Bills, has introduced the Deep Sea Mining Bill (HC Bill 14). This is a Government ‘handout’ Bill; the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has prepared its explanatory notes.

The Bill seeks to amend the Deep Sea Mining (Temporary Provisions) Act 1981. This will ensure that companies seeking to exploit mineral resources of the deep sea bed obtain licences from and are regulated through the International Seabed Authority, in line with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Also, at the moment, the 1981 Act applies only to polymetallic nodules, not to other mineral resources of the deep sea bed.

Environmental groups have voiced concerns about increasing numbers of applications to explore for minerals in the deep sea and whether environmnetal controls are strong enough.

The Bill is due to have its Report Stage on the 24 January 2014.

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