The robot is ready - so when will deep sea mining start?
* Most potential subsea minerals in international waters
* U.N. body expects mining code in 2-3 years
* Canadian company ready to mine off Papua New Guinea
By Stephen Eisenhammer and Silvia Antonioli
NEWCASTLE, England/LONDON, April 18 (Reuters) - The world's first deep sea mining robot sits idle on a British factory floor, waiting to claw up high grade copper and gold from the seabed off Papua New Guinea (PNG) - when a wrangle over terms is solved.
Beyond PNG, in international waters, regulation and royalty terms for mining the planet's subsea wealth have also yet to be finalised. The world waits for the judgement of a United Nations agency based in Jamaica.
"If we can take care of the environment we have a brand new day ahead of us. The marine area beyond national jurisdiction is 50 percent of the Ocean," said Nii Odunton, secretary general of the U.N.'s International Seabed Authority (ISA).
"I believe the grades look good, the abundance looks good, I believe that money will be made," Odunton said from the ISA offices in Kingston.
High-tech advances, depleted easy-to-reach minerals onshore and historically high prices have boosted the idea of mining offshore, where metals can be fifteen times the quality of land deposits. Continued...