Table of Contents
What are Polymetallic Nodules ?
- Polymetallic nodules are Fe-Mn oxide deposits, potato shape, porous, black earthy colour with size ranging from 2 to 10 cm in diameter
- These are considered as the precipitates of hot fluids from upwelling hot magma from deep interior of the oceanic crust, discharged through mineralized paths.
- Copper and zinc are the most likely metals to be recovered, but some deposits exhibit significant gold (0–20 ppm) and silver (0–1200 ppm) grades as well.
- These Rare earth minerals are considered as the great source of valuable minerals such as gold, silver and zinc. It also contains valuable rare-earth metals which used as an essential ingredient in electronic devices and gadgets.
India — what it has done regarding Polymetallic Nodules ?
- India signed a 15-year contract for exploration of Polymetallic Nodules (PMN) in the Central Indian Ocean Basin with the International Seabed Authority (ISA) on 25th March, 2002
ISA is Jamaica based
- *Presently, India is having an area of 75,000 sq.km, located about 2000 km away from the southern tip for exploration of Polymetallic Nodules.
- Due to its geographical location, India is the only country having exclusive rights over one site out of three sites for polymetallic nodules in the central Indian Ocean.
- Vital significance to India in terms of enhanced presence in the Indian Ocean water where other major international players are also active.
- Open up new horizons for resources of commercial and strategic value in the area beyond national jurisdiction.
- Boost to the blue-economy.
- Employment opportunities skill-sets and capacities
- Empowerment of coastal communities and attaining greater social and economic inclusion.
- New development in electronics industry.
- Providing a boost to coastal and national economies
- Promoting entrepreneurship in new areas of economic activity
- Development of blue economy and diplomacy.
- Sagarmala project will enhance the exploration.
- It will also open new doors for mining of oil and gas reservoirs which are potent for India’s energy security.
- Counter to China — as of now China is controlling more than 95% of the Rare Earth Metals
- Strengthen up the bilateral ties with Japan, Germany and South Korea
Deep Ocean Mission
- ‘ISRO-like’ Ocean exploration
- Centre draws up a five-year, ₹8,000 crore plan to explore the deep recesses of the ocean.
- The Ministry of Earth Sciences unveiled a blueprint of the ‘Deep Ocean Mission (DOM)’
Proposed key deliverables to achieve these goals –
* Establish an offshore desalination plant that will work with tidal energy
* Developing a submersible vehicle that can go to a depth of at least 6,000 metres
* The focus will be on technologies for deep-sea mining, underwater vehicles, underwater robotics and ocean climate change advisory services, among other aspects.
- India has been allotted a site of 1,50,000 sq. km in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB) by the UN International Sea Bed Authority for exploitation of polymetallic nodules (PMN).
- It is envisaged that 10% of recovery of that large reserve can meet the energy requirement of India for the next 100 years.
- India’s Exclusive Economic Zone spreads over 2.2 million sq. km and in the deep sea, lies unexplored and un-utilised
- Constitutional Provision
- India was the first country in the world to have been given the Pioneer Area for exploration of deep-sea mineral — PMN