The contract was signed between Russia and the International Seabed Authority in New York earlier this week, according to Russian Deputy National Resources and Ecology Minister Denis Khramov.
He explained that the 15-year contract stipulates that Russia could explore the cobalt-rich ferromanganese crust in the allotted parcel, which may yield an estimated 30-35 million tons of ore.
"The area granted to Russia includes 150 blocks, which have an area of 20 square kilometers each and which are located at a depth of about 5,000 kilometers in international waters," Khramov said.
"It is even more difficult than space exploration. It is the most advanced area of technological progress because creating a relevant production system that could operate at such a depth seems much like science fiction," Khramov said.
According to him, Russia will explore the area in the next 15 years so that it can finally select a total of 50 of the most promising blocks; it will develop them until they are exhausted.