The Interoceanmetal Joint Organization was formed on 27 April1987, based on the Intergovernmental Agreement and started operations in December that year. The present IOM member states at present 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 concerned a 300,000 km2 area, in the eastern part of the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone, within a total of 540,000 km2 swath 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, based on recommendations from the Group of Technical Experts which were issued after lOM’s application had been made and the detailed geological data collected by the Organization examined. On 30 July 1992, the General Secretary of the United Nations awarded IOM and its member states the Certificate of Registration, whereby the lOM’s status has become that of the pioneer investor. The registered pioneer area of IOM covered 150,000km2.
On 29 March 2001, the IOM signed with the International Seabed Authority the contract for exploration for polymetallic nodules within a 75000 km2 area situated in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone in the north-east Pacific. Current IOM's activity is mostly aimed to fulfill the approved 15-year plan of work for exploration and includes at-sea geological survey as well as development and testing of mining and processing technologies, environmental research, economic and other appropriate studies necessary to commence nodule exploitation and deep sea mining operations.