NEW YORK, July 24, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- TMC the metals company Inc. (Nasdaq: TMC) (“TMC” or the “Company”), an explorer of the world’s largest estimated undeveloped source of critical battery metals, today applauded the International Seabed Authority (ISA) Council’s consensus decision agreeing a roadmap towards adopting final rules, regulations, and procedures (RRPs, also known as the Mining Code) to allow for the exploitation of seafloor resources, in a major step toward regulatory certainty.
After failing to adopt the Mining Code by 9 July 2023, last Friday the ISA Council concluded part two of the twenty-eighth session with a decision to continue the elaboration of the Mining Code during formal sessions in November 2023, March 2024 and July 2024 and informal intersessional working groups.
“It is now a question of when — rather than if — commercial-scale nodule collection will begin,” said TMC Chairman and CEO Gerard Barron. “Since June 2022, under strong pressure from global NGOs, seventeen ISA Member States representing a minority of the 169 ISA Members have formally supported a precautionary pause, moratorium or a ban on deep sea mining. While the legal obligations of Member States to adopt RRPs pursuant to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the Part XI Implementation Agreement (the Agreement) remain unchanged, these actions introduced a degree of political uncertainty around the timing of the adoption of the Mining Code. Last Friday’s consensus decision that included Member States who have called for a precautionary pause is a hard-won compromise that reduces this uncertainty. We are obviously disappointed that the ISA failed to adopt RRPs by 9 July 2023 as we hoped two years ago. But we also recognize that the vast majority of Member States worked very hard in the last 24 months and demonstrated strong continued commitment to finalizing the Mining Code through increased number of formal sessions and twelve informal intersessional working groups. I believe the finish line is now within sight and we look forward to the consolidated regulatory text at the next meeting in November 2023.”
TMC’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Nauru Ocean Resources Inc. (NORI), reiterated its preference to submit an application for a plan of work for exploitation once these RRPs are in place. However, consistent with NORI’s sponsoring state Nauru's rights under UNCLOS, and as was reaffirmed in Friday’s decision, NORI reserves its right to submit an application for a plan of work in the absence of the adoption of the RRP’s pursuant to Section 1, Paragraph 15 of the Annex to the Agreement.
NORI will continue to work tirelessly to complete a comprehensive, science-driven environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) of the highest quality. As evidenced by the recent submission of data and with significantly more environmental data to be submitted this year, the Company believes this information will further strengthen the case that the impacts of nodule collection can be effectively understood, mitigated and managed and will make a conclusive case why collecting polymetallic nodules to produce energy transition metals is the right thing to do, especially when compared to sourcing these metals by continuing to destroy megadiverse terrestrial ecosystems and communities which depend on them.
TMC Chairman and CEO Gerard Barron added: “We want to sincerely thank our sponsoring states for their continued support and the ISA Council for its hard work and further commitment to fulfil its legal obligation and adopt all RRPs for the responsible exploitation of seafloor resources.”
About The Metals Company
The Metals Company is an explorer of lower-impact battery metals from seafloor polymetallic nodules, on a dual mission: (1) supply metals for the clean energy transition with the least possible negative environmental and social impact and (2) accelerate the transition to a circular metal economy. The Company through its subsidiaries holds exploration and commercial rights to three polymetallic nodule contract areas in the Clarion Clipperton Zone of the Pacific Ocean regulated by the International Seabed Authority and sponsored by the governments of Nauru, Kiribati and the Kingdom of Tonga.
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Forward Looking Statements
Certain statements made in this press release are not historical facts but are forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions under The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements generally are accompanied by words such as “believe,” “may,” “will,” “estimate,” “continue,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “expect,” “should,” “would,” “plan,” “predict,” “potential,” “seem,” “seek,” “future,” “outlook” and similar expressions that predict or indicate future events or trends or that are not statements of historical matters. The forward-looking statements contained in this press release include, without limitation, statements regarding the approval and review of our Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) by the international seabed authority, the development and use of an ecosystem-based management and monitoring plan (EMMP) as well as the design, use and accuracy of any technology developed by TMC and its partners, agents and/or service providers to support its operations. These forward-looking statements involve significant risks and uncertainties that could cause the actual results to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements. Most of these factors are outside TMC’s control and are difficult to predict. Factors that may cause such differences include, but are not limited to: regulatory uncertainties and the impact of government regulation and political instability on TMC’s resource activities; changes to any of the laws, rules, regulations or policies to which TMC is subject; the impact of extensive and costly environmental requirements on TMC’s operations; environmental liabilities; the impact of polymetallic nodule collection on biodiversity in the Clarion Clipperton Zone and recovery rates of impacted ecosystems; TMC’s ability to develop minerals in sufficient grade or quantities to justify commercial operations; the lack of development of seafloor polymetallic nodule deposit; uncertainty in the estimates for mineral resource calculations from certain contract areas and for the grade and quality of polymetallic nodule deposits; risks associated with natural hazards; uncertainty with respect to the specialized treatment and processing of polymetallic nodules that TMC may recover; risks associated with collection, development and processing polymetallic nodules; risks associated with TMC’s limited operating history; the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; risks associated with TMC’s intellectual property and the validity, use and ownership of any new technology or intellectual property subsisting therein; and other risks and uncertainties indicated from time to time in the Company’s Form 10K, dated and filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on March 25, 2022 as well as the Company’s Form 10Q filed with the SEC on August 15, 2022, including those under “Risk Factors” therein, and in TMC’s other future filings with the SEC. TMC cautions that the foregoing list of factors is not exclusive. TMC cautions readers not to place undue reliance upon any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date made. TMC does not undertake or accept any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements to reflect any change in its expectations or any change in events, conditions, or circumstances on which any such statement is based except as required by law.