India to explore mineral deposits off Mauritius coast

February 09, 2015 12:00 am | Updated 05:41 am IST - KOCHI:

India, with approval from the International Seabed Authority (ISA), will launch exploration of mineral deposits such as polymetallic sulphides off the coast of Mauritius.

The explorations were likely to be launched within a year after the government of India signed a 15-year contract with the ISA, said the Director of the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research S. Rajan here on Sunday. He was addressing a session of the World Ocean Science Congress 2015, said a press release from the organisers of the Ocean Science Congress.

The Ocean Science Congress, jointly organised by Swadeshi Science Movement and the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (Kufos), ended here on Sunday.

Exploration for seabed minerals would be launched in the 10,000-sq.km. mid-ocean ridge off Mauritius, said Mr. Rajan.

The press release said that India, through the Ministry of Earth Sciences, had submitted an application for Deep Sea Mining Licence with the International Seabed Authority in April 2013. Approval for the plan of work came through in July 2014. The project would be implemented in three phases from the date of agreement, the press release added.

It said the proposed exploration was expected to lead to “vast deposits of lead, zinc and copper ranging from several thousands to about 100 million tonnes”.

Mr. Rajan also told the session in Kochi on Sunday that India had made a submission before the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf with a view to extending India’s Continental Shelf Limit to 350 nautical miles from the 200 nautical miles now. “This will allow the country to widen its area of exploration of large scale mineral deposits”.

The press release also cited the Director of National Institute of Ocean Technology M.A. Atmanand as saying that the Institute had taken up several projects such as beach restoration, weather forecast and tsunami warning.

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