Search Legislation

Antarctic Act 2013

Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty

4.The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (“the Protocol”) provides for the comprehensive protection of the Antarctic environment. It requires all human activities undertaken in Antarctica to be planned and conducted so as to limit adverse impacts on the Antarctic environment. Its Article 7 prohibits any activity relating to mineral resources other than scientific research. Until 2048 the Protocol can only be modified by unanimous agreement of all the Consultative Parties to the Treaty and, in addition, the prohibition on activity relating to mineral resources cannot be removed without a binding legal regime on Antarctic mineral resource activities being in force. There is therefore no foreseeable prospect of oil exploration or similar activity in the Antarctic. The Protocol, including its Annexes I–IV, was adopted in 1991 and entered into force in 1998. Annex V was adopted later in 1991 and entered into force in 2002. Provision is made in the Protocol for additional annexes to be adopted and incorporated into the Protocol following their entry into force. The text of the Protocol is available at:

Back to top


Print Options


Explanatory Notes

Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.


More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources