New Delhi [India], Sept.26 : The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) on Monday a 15-year contract with the International Seabed Authority (ISA), for exploration of Poly-Metallic Sulphides (PMS) in Indian Ocean.
The contract was signed by Dr. M Rajeevan, Secretary, MoES and Mr. Nii Allotey Odunton, Secretary General, ISA. The ISA is an institution set up under the Convention on Law of the Sea to which India is a party. The ISA earlier approved an application submitted by the Ministry of Earth Sciences for allotment of 10,000 square kilometers area along with 15-year plan of work for exploration of PMS along Central Indian Ridge (CIR) and Southwest Indian Ridge (SWIR) region of the Indian Ocean.
The Union Cabinet approved signing of this 15-year contract by the Ministry with the ISA in its meeting held on June 15, 2016.
PMS, containing iron, copper, zinc, silver, gold, platinum in variable constitutions, are precipitates of hot fluids from upwelling hot magma from deep interior of the oceanic crust, discharged through mineralized chimneys.
PMS in the Ocean Ridges have attracted worldwide attention for their long term commercial as well as strategic values.
By signing the 15-year contract, India's exclusive rights for exploration of PMS in the allotted area in the Indian Ocean will be formalized.
Further, it will enhance India's presence in the Indian Ocean where other players like China, Korea and Germany are active.
The program will be implemented by the Ministry of Earth Sciences with the participation from various national institutes and research laboratories/ organizations.