The Interoceanmetal Joint Organization was established on 27 April 1987basingon an Intergovernmental Agreement and started operations in December that year. The present IOM member states are: Bulgaria, Cuba, Czech Republic, Poland, Russian Federation, and Slovakia.
For a number of years since its establishment the IOM has been focusing mainly on carrying out regional geological and geophysical surveys in the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone of the Pacific Ocean. The lOM’s claim referred to an area covering 300,000 km2 in the eastern part of the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone, within a total swath of ocean equalling 540,000 km2 surveyed.
The Preparatory Commission for the International Seabed Authority working under the regulations of United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) decided to register IOM as a pioneer investor basing on the recommendations from the Group of Technical Experts which were issued after the lOM’s application had been submitted and the detailed geological data collected by the Organization had been examined. On 30 July 1992 the General Secretary of the United Nations awarded the Certificate of Registration to the IOM and its member states, whereby the lOM’s status has become that of a pioneer investor. The registered pioneer area belonging to IOM covered 150,000km2.
On 29 March 2001, the IOM signed a contract for exploration for polymetallic nodules with the International Seabed Authority referring to a 75,000 km2 area situated in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone in the north-east Pacific. Current IOM's activities are mostly aimed at fulfilling the approved 15-years plan of work for exploration, including at-sea geological survey as well as the development and testing of mining and processing technologies, the environmental research, and last but not least the economic and other appropriate studies necessary to commence nodule exploitation and deep sea mining operations.