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Metalliferous Sediments in the Atlantis II Deep – Assessing the Geological and Economic Resource Potential and Legal Constraints

  • Christine Bertram
  • Anna Krätschell
  • Killian O'Brien
  • Warner Brückmann
  • Alexander Proelss
  • Katrin Rehdanz

To date, mineral resources are only mined on land but projected increases in demand have brought the exploration and exploitation of marine mineral resources back into focus. The Atlantis II Deep, located in the central Red Sea between Saudi Arabia and Sudan, is one of the largest marine sulfide deposits known, with high concentrations of metals such as zinc, copper, silver and gold. However, little is known about the economic potential of marine minerals as well as the legal constraints. Our geological assessment shows that the deep is similar in grades and scale to large land-based deposits. Its economic potential is far from negligible. The present value of possible gross revenues ranges from 3.11 to 8.21 billion US-$, depending on the minerals considered. From a legal perspective, a general duty to cooperate in the exploration and exploitation of non-living resources located in disputed maritime areas is identified in both customary international law and in the UNCLOS. It is submitted that a joint development agreement is one means of ensuring compliance with this duty in general and in the case of the Atlantis II Deep in particular

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Paper provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy in its series Kiel Working Papers with number 1688.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kie:kieliw:1688
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  1. Cameron, H. & Georghiou, L. & Perry, J. G. & Wiley, P., 1981. "The economic feasibility of deep-sea mining," Engineering Costs and Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(3-4), pages 279-287.
  2. Hoagland, Porter & Beaulieu, Stace & Tivey, Maurice A. & Eggert, Roderick G. & German, Christopher & Glowka, Lyle & Lin, Jian, 2010. "Deep-sea mining of seafloor massive sulfides," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 728-732, May.
  3. Kirthisingha, P. N., 1983. "International policies on the economic resources of the deep-seabed," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 77-98, June.
  4. Stein, Robert & Walter, Ingo, 1977. "Seabed resources and international law," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 237-242, December.
  5. Halfar, Jochen & Fujita, Rodney M., 2002. "Precautionary management of deep-sea mining," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 103-106, March.
  6. Clark, Joel P. & Neutra, Marian R., 1983. "Mining manganese nodules : Potential economic and environmental effects ag]," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 99-109, June.
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