The Nauru government says it's the first developing state to sponsor an application to explore for deep sea minerals in international waters.
A Nauru incorporated company, Nauru Ocean Resources has made the application to the International Seabed Authority to explore a vast seabed area in the north-east Pacific Ocean reserved for developing states.
Nauru Ocean Resources chairman David Heydon, says under a United Nations convention a proportion of revenue from any subsequent mining venture would go back to the authority to distribute.
But he says a high proportion would go to Nauru.
"For those that are familiar with countries that are rich in minerals, they benefit enormously from such royalties and taxes. We see this as an industry that basically extends Nauru's economic benefit outside its country to a whole new business elsewhere."
David Heydon says they expect to hear in April next year whether their exploration application has been successful, and hope to gain a licence to mine nickel and copper in about five years.