The International Seabed Authority, the UN affiliated body set-up to organise, regulate and control all mineral-related activities in international waters, has been accused of getting in bed with sea bed mining companies.
In a new report, called Why the Rush?, the NGO Deep Sea Mining Campaign is calling for a 20 year moratorium on ocean floor mining, saying not enough is known about its effects.
The Campaign's co-ordinator, Helen Rosenbaum, said companies lining up to mine the seabed are being aided and abetted by the organisations that should be policing the activity.
She points to the ISA's head Michael Lodge, appearing in advertising for one miner, Deep Green, and promoting deep sea mining.
"So it is very hard to think that his organisation is going to be able to develop regulations which match their mandate, which is to manage the seabed resources in the interests of all humanity and protect the environment from damage from sea bed mining."
The International Seabed Authority has not so far responded to the criticisms from the campaign but it did file a response earlier this month after Greenpeace put out a similar condemnation.
The ISA said the Greenpeace report misrepresented the Authority's role.
The Authority said the legal regime to regulate prospecting, exploration and future exploitation of deep-sea minerals was being developed in a transparent public forum of consensus-building by the international community and in compliance with international law.
"It is anchored in the driving principle that the proceeds of deep-seabed mining will be shared on a basis of equity, in a transparent manner, and for the benefit of mankind as a whole.
"There is no other comparable regime that places protection of the environment and benefit to humanity at the front and centre of its mandate."