Three decades after it started a mission to search for metal resources on sea beds, the Ministry of Earth Sciences on Tuesday announced its next venture, the Deep Ocean Mission, slated to begin in January 2018. Making the announcement, M Rajeevan, Secretary of Ministry of Earth Sciences, confirmed the participation of seven premier science agencies including NIO, ISRO and DRDO in the venture. “Everyone is keenly interested and it will be one of our biggest missions,” he said, speaking via video-conference.
Scientists and experts gathered at the National Institute of Oceanography auditorium in Dona Paula to commemorate the country’s efforts to explore the sea bed of the Central Indian Ocean, and the successful discovery of vast polymetallic nodules — metal-rich minerals. The workshop was titled ‘Three decades of India acquiring Pioneer Investor Status — achievements and way forward’.
Speaking at the event, M S Nagar, Member Standing Committee, Ministry of Earth Sciences, said, “Oceans are the ultimate storehouse. They hold truths that need to be explored. As our resources in terrestrial regions deplete, it will beoceans that will help us.”
Dr Rahul K Sharma, Chief Scientist, Geographical Oceanography, said, “Let’s say we are moving from exploration to exploitation. India is currently putting in place a system which will bring these resources out of the sea bed.”
India is one of the few countries to have conducted environmental impact assessment of experimental mining in the deep sea. An area of 75,000 sq km on the sea bed has been designated for exploration of an estimated resource of about 100 million tones of strategic metals.