HL Deb 08 February 1974 vol 349 c938WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will list the companies participating in the international consortium to examine manganese nodule deposits on the floor of the Pacific Ocean, in which consortium they have offered two British firms £830,000 towards the costs of participation; under what flags the vessel or vessels concerned will sail; what Government is responsible for the observation of appropriate environmental standards by that vessel or vessels and by whom these standards will have been set; whether the survey results of the consortium will be published, and whether Her Majesty's Government consider its operation to be in accordance with—

  1. (a) the current British proposal for the international administration of the deep sea bed; and
  2. (b) the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly declaring the sea bed beyond national jurisdiction to be the common heritage of mankind.


The consortium is made up of the Kennecott Copper Corporation (U.S.), Mitsubishi (Japan), Noranda Mines (Canada), Rio Tinto Zinc Corporation and Consolidated Gold Fields Ltd. This is a commercial operation and the results of the work will not be published. There is no contradiction between Government support for the consortium and the British proposals for the international administration of the deep sea bed or the U.N. General Assembly resolution. The remainder of the information for which my noble friend asked is being collected and I will send it to him as soon as possible.