Centre to launch Deep Ocean Mission in October

India has been allotted a site of 75,000 sq. km.for exploitation of polymetallic nodules.  

A five-year, ₹8,000-crore plan to explore the deepest recesses of the ocean has finally got the green signal from the government.

The ‘Deep Ocean Mission (DOM)’ to be led by the Union Earth Sciences Ministry will commence from October 31, Madhavan Rajeevan, Secretary, said at a public function. “We finally have the in-principle approval to go ahead with the mission. Now expenditure plans will be drawn and circulated [to various institutions affiliated to the Ministry] for executing programmes and we hope to launch by October 31,” he said.

The Ministry had unveiled a blueprint of the programme last July. Among the key deliverables are an offshore desalination plant that will work with tidal energy and developing a submersible vehicle that can go to a depth of at least 6,000 metres with three people on board.

“The mission proposes to explore the deep ocean similar to the space exploration started by ISRO about 35 years ago,” a report explaining the objectives of the programme notes.

A major thrust of the mission will be looking for metals and minerals.

India has been allotted a site of 75,000 sq. km. in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB) by the UN International Sea Bed Authority for exploitation of polymetallic nodules (PMN). These are rocks scattered on the seabed containing iron, manganese, nickel and cobalt. Being able to lay hands on even 10% of that reserve can meet the energy requirement for the next 100 years. It has been estimated that 380 million metric tonnes of polymetallic nodules are available at the bottom of the seas in the Central Indian Ocean. India’s Exclusive Economic Zone spreads over 2.2 million sq. km. and in the deep sea, lies “unexplored and unutilised”.

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Printable version | Jun 15, 2021 1:01:58 AM |

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