Union Cabinet approves extension of contract between India, International Seabed Authority for poly-metallic nodules exploration

New Delhi [India], Sept.12 : The Union Cabinet on Monday approved the extension of a contract between India and the International Seabed Authority (ISA) for exploration of poly-metallic nodules The contract exists between the Ministry of Earth Sciences and the ISA.

The present contract for exploration of poly-metallic nodules has been further extended for a period of five years (2017-22).

The earlier contract is set to expire on March 24, 2017. By extending the contract, India's exclusive rights for exploration of poly-metallic nodules in the allotted area in the Central Indian Ocean Basin will continue and would open up new opportunities for resources of commercial and strategic value in area beyond national jurisdiction.

Further, it would provide strategic importance for India in terms of enhanced presence in Indian Ocean where other international: players are also active.

Poly-metallic nodules (also known as manganese nodules) are potato-shaped, largely porous nodules found in abundance carpeting the sea floor of world oceans in deep sea.

Besides manganese and iron, they contain nickel, copper, cobalt, lead, molybdenum, cadmium, vanadium, titanium, of which nickel, cobalt and copper are considered to be of economic and strategic importance.

India signed a 15 year contract for exploration of poly-metallic nodules (PMN) in Central Indian Ocean Basin with the International Seabed Authority (ISA) (an Institution set up under the Convention on Law of the Sea to which India is a Party) on March 25, 2002 with the approval of Cabinet.

India is presently having an area of 75,000 square kilometers located about 2000 kilometers away from her southern tip for exploration of PMN.

The Ministry of Earth Sciences is carrying out a survey and exploration, Environmental Impact Assessment, Technology Development (Mining and Extractive Metallurgy) under poly-metallic nodules program through various national institutes viz.

National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology (IMMT), National Metallurgical Laboratory (NML), National Centre for Antarctica and Ocean Research (NCAOR), National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) etc., in accordance with the Contract provisions.

India is fulfilling all the obligations of the contract..

Source: ANI