The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for signing of 15 years contract by the Ministry of Earth Sciences with the International Seabed Authority (ISA) for undertaking exploration and other developmental activities related to Polymetallic Sulphides in the allotted area of 10,000 sq km. It will be done in parts of Central and South – West Indian Ridges (SWIR), located in the Indian Ocean.
By signing the 15 year contract, India’s exclusive rights for exploration of Polymetallic Sulphides in the allotted Area in the Central Indian Ridge, and South West Indian Ridge in 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/ organisations.
Deep seabed Poly-Metallic Sulphides (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.
The International Seabed Authority (ISA), under the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), earlier approved an application submitted by the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), Government of India, for allotment of 10,000 sq. km. area along with 15 years plan of work for exploration of Polymetallic Sulphide (PMS) along Central Indian Ridge (CIR) 85 Southwest Indian Ridge (SWIR) region of the Indian Ocean. ISA governs non-¬living resources of seabed lying in international waters.