Debate over ISA is settled at international level and all seabed mining will take place under the ISA regime
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The International Seabed Authority is the end result of years of negotiation, confrontation, compromise and regime building. As of June 2005, there were 148 member states, and seven consortia with contracts for exploration or exploitation of deep seabed minerals (the contract of exploration for an eighth consortium is being prepared based on the approval of its proposed plan of work at the August 2005 session of the authority).39 Few countries remain outside the convention, and the most notable non-member, the United States, is the only the regime. Given the widespread acceptance of the regime and the historically multinational composition of ocean mining consortia, it appears certain that any exploitation of deep seabed mineral resources will be conducted under the regime since operating outside it raises significant and costly questions of recognition title to recovered minerals, potential for international legal actions to impede operations, and overt or covert retribution against other activities of developers by members of the authority.