By Elizabeth Riddell-Dixon
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Extra resources for Canada and the International Seabed: Domestic Determinants and External Constraints
12 Canada's policy was outlined under nine headings: the living resources of the sea; the resources of the continental shelf; navigation; territorial sea; passage through straits used for international navigation; archipelagoes; protection of the marine environment; marine scientific research; and the international area of the seabed. At this point, Canada was most concerned with its own economic interest. Consequently, highest priority was given 36 Canada and the International Seabed to the rights and responsibilities of coastal states to harvest resources and to protect the marine environment, both within their territorial seas and in and above the continental shelf.
In contrast, the countries that produced the laterite nickel tended to be dependent on petroleum resources to fuel their smelters. Until 1973, when the price of oil rose dramatically, laterite ores had been fairly inexpensive to produce, because they were located close to the surface and the cost of fuel was low. Thereafter, however, they became much more expensive to refine. Increases in the price of petroleum also added to the projected costs of smelting manganese nodules. The key issues for Canada, then, involved ensuring that its nickel mining industry would have free access to compete on world markets and that its competitors, especially the Enterprise, did not receive unfair advantages.
On the question of who might exploit the resources of the Area, the Group of 77 argued that the ISA should have the right to exploit the territory, either alone or in co-operation with other entities. It sought to reserve the 39 Canada's Policies at UNCLOS III principal role of developing the Area resources for the Enterprise. This, it argued, was an essential prerequisite to translating the common heritage of mankind into practice. In contrast, the industrialized countries were eager to ensure their supplies of the minerals contained in the manganese nodules.
Canada and the International Seabed: Domestic Determinants and External Constraints by Elizabeth Riddell-Dixon