Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



On June 2, 1988, in Wellington, New Zealand, thirty-three states signed the Convention on the Regulation of Antarctic Mineral Resources. This agreement, the product of six years of negotiation, fills a significant gap in the Antarctic Treaty System: it provides rules governing the prospecting, exploration, and development of minerals in Antarctica. Recently, however, two Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties--France and Australia--have refused to ratify the Minerals Convention, instead advocating a permanent ban on mineral activities in Antarctica. Their opposition thwarts plans for the ratification of the Minerals Convention. This Note provides an overview of the present Antarctic Treaty System, sets forth the provisions of the Minerals Convention in detail, and discusses the Convention's strengths and weaknesses. Finally, this Note outlines the events that led to the collapse of the Convention.