India’S Exclusive Rights to Explore Polymetallic Nodules from Central Indian Ocean Seabed Basin (Download PDF)

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India’s exclusive rights to explore polymetallic nodules from seabed in Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB) were extended by five years. Rights over 75000 sq. km of area in international waters allocated by International Seabed Authority for developmental activities for polymetallic nodules.

Image of Exclusive Economic Zone

Image of Exclusive Economic Zone

Image of Exclusive Economic Zone

  • Estimated polymetallic nodule resource potential is 380 million tonnes, containing 4.7 million tonnes of nickel, 4.29 million tonnes of copper, 0.55 million tonnes of cobalt, and 92.59 million tonnes of manganese.

  • Approved granted unanimously in the 23rd session of International Seabed Authority (ISA) concluded on August 18, 2017 at Kingston, Jamaica.

Background

Image of Location Submarine Vents And Polymetallic Nodules

Image of Location Submarine Vents And Polymetallic Nodules

Image of Location Submarine Vents And Polymetallic Nodules

  • India the first country to receive status of a pioneer investor in 1987 was allocated an exclusive area in Central Indian Ocean Basin by United Nations (UN) for exploration and utilization of nodules.

  • India one among the top 8-countries and contractors and is implementing a long–term programme on exploration and utilization of Polymetallic Nodules through Ministry of Earth Sciences.

  • Indian is conducting survey and exploration, environmental studies, and technology development in mining and extractive metallurgy.

Progress So Far

  • Extraction of metals from the polymetallic nodules lying deep on ocean floor not yet found to be economically viable.

  • However, an area of about 7860 square km identified in the CIOB for the First Generation Mine Site.

  • Environmental studies for mining of deep-sea polymetallic ascertained the impact of mining on deep-sea environment.

  • Remotely Operable Submersible (ROSUB 6000), capable of operating at 6000 m water depth developed and tested successfully at a depth of 5289 m for this purpose.

  • Remotely operable in-situ soil testing equipment obtained detailed geotechnical properties of the mining area at CIOB.

  • A mining system under development has been tested for 500 m water depth.

  • Metallurgical process routes for extracting copper, nickel and cobalt from polymetallic nodules were developed and tested in a demonstration pilot plant set up at Hindustan Zinc Limited, Udaipur with a capacity to process 500 kg nodules per day.

About International Seabed Authority (ISA)

  • International Seabed Authority (ISA) is a UN body which regulates the exploration and exploitation of marine non-living resources of oceans in international waters.

  • India contributes to the work of International Seabed Authority and was re-elected as a member ISA Council last year.

  • India’s nominees on Legal and Technical Commission and Finance Committee of the ISA were elected last year.

What are Polymetallic Modules?

Image of Polymetallic Modules

Image of Polymetallic Modules

Image of Polymetallic Modules

  • Also called manganese nodules

  • Cobalt crusts and manganese nodules are most important deposits of metals and minerals in the sea- as they contain greater amounts of some metals than are found in today’s known economically minable deposits

  • Contain mainly manganese but also iron, nickel, copper, titanium and cobalt

  • Rock concretions on the sea bottom formed of concentric layers of iron and manganese hydroxides around a core.

Rock concretions on the sea bottom formed of concentric layers

Rock Concretions on the Sea Bottom Formed of Concentric Layers

Rock concretions on the sea bottom formed of concentric layers

  • Core microscopically small and sometimes completely transformed into manganese minerals.

  • Size ranges from potato to lettuce

- Published/Last Modified on: September 13, 2017

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