Keppel Corp unit gets international licence to explore seabed for minerals

SINGAPORE - A unit of Keppel Corp is embarking on a seabed exploration for minerals.

In a statement today, Keppel said its unit, Ocean Mineral Singapore (OMS), had received approval from the International Seabed Authority (ISA) for its first seabed exploration licence.

Over the next few months, OMS will work with ISA to finalise the terms of contract for the licence, which will allow exploration for polymetallic nodules at a site within the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone of the Pacific Ocean.

OMS is a Singapore-incorporated company majority owned by Keppel, with UK Seabed Resources, a wholly owned subsidiary of London-based Lockheed Martin UK Holdings, and Singapore-based private investment company Lion City Capital Partners, as minority shareholders.

OMS director Ong Ye Kung, said the project leverages Keppel's experience in the offshore and marine sector.

Under the exploration licence, OMS intends to conduct environmental studies and to survey for deposits of polymetallic nodules.

Polymetallic nodules contain copper, nickel, cobalt and manganese, as well as rare earth minerals.

Seabed mineral recovery beyond nations' territorial waters is administered by the ISA established under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.