The international seabed authority was established to manage development of mineral resources beyond the EEZ and continental shelf to which all countries had rights, but for which no nation could claim exclusive jurisdiction. The Authority provides international recognition of exclusive access and title to recovered minerals. These are essential to any mining company and cannot be provided by any country acting on its own.
The International Seabed Authority has been in operation for 18 years and has 162 members. It is recognized as the only international organization competent to sort out matters of exclusive rights and title to minerals beyond national jurisdiction. The US can't stop the Authority by failing to sign the Convention - we only abdicate the unique authority we would have as the only permanent member of the decision-making Council.
The Authority is successful because in 1994 a treaty was adopted that incorporated fixes to the six issues Ronald Reagan identified in 1982 as both necessary and sufficient to gain his support for US ratification. Now there are 17 operations conducting, or preparing to conduct, exploration leading to commercial development, and none of them are American.
The staff of the Authority numbers just 37 people, with about half being local hires at local pay scales. The US share of the full costs of the authority would be about the same as the cost of the staff of a single US senator - but the benefits to the US in profit and taxes once commercial development begins would be in the billions of dollars.
By joining the US will have veto power over adoption of rules and regulations (including royalty rates), distribution plans for funds received by the authority, proposed amendments to the sea be provisions and any other potential economic programs. We can ensure that the implementation of Reagan's fixes to the Convention are honored far into the future.
The Authority meets for only 10 days a year to approve exploration licenses, draft rules and regulations and oversee the work of the secretariat. Last month, itl approved 5 new requests for exclusive rights to seabed deposits, including commercial operations from the UK and Belgium.
Ronald Reagan wanted the US to have a domestic seabed mining industry to protect our economy against interruption of foreign supplies of critical minerals. This is even more important now that we have found that deep seabed nodules are sources of rare earth elements as well as nickel, cobalt and manganese. By remaining outside the LOS Convention, the United States is quashing Ronald Reagan's vision of a domestic critical minerals industry in spite of having achieved all of Reagan's criteria for a satisfactory convention that he, himself, said he would support.