Mineral conflict in Antarctica during the 1980's: Convention on the regulation of Antarctic mineral resource activities (CRAMRA)
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelPostgraduate Certificate
Degree NamePostgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
Since the industrial revolution at the beginning of the last century, the search for exploitable mineral reserves has become more and more important. This increasing demand has put pressure on non-renewable resources, which was first recognised in the 1970’s and early 80’s. Increasing demand and lack of secure supply from mineral rich countries such as South Africa and Russia, led the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties (ATCP) to agree to negotiate a minerals convention. This convention was merely to regulate mineral resources and hence prevent Antarctica from being exploited by an unregulated scramble. The negotiations for such a mineral convention, known as the Convention on the Regulation of Antarctic Mineral Resources Activities (CRAMRA), took six years as it was difficult to find a common nominator. The final document was open for signature in 1988, however soon after, Australia and France refused to sign the convention they helped to negotiate. Instead they proposed that the ATCP should agree on environmental standards and regulations, which would prohibit mining. After a further three years, the Madrid Protocol was adopted, which banned mineral activities in Antarctica for 50 years. This review will investigate what the controversies between the different parties were during the six years of discussion and investigate what were the underlying motives for France and Australia rejection of CRAMRA. It further comments on the fact, if CRAMRA can be viewed as a complete failure and suggests areas for further research.
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