ISA extends India’s exclusive rights to explore polymetallic nodules from Central Indian Ocean Seabed Basin
Polymetallic nodules are rock concretions on the sea bottom formed of concentric layers of iron and manganese hydroxides around a core.
The International Seabed Authority (ISA) in August 2017 extended India’s exclusive rights to explore polymetallic nodules from seabed in Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB) by five years.
The decision was taken in the 23rd session of International Seabed Authority concluded on 18 August 2017 at Kingston, Jamaica.
India’s exclusive rights are over 75000 sq. km of area in international waters allocated by the ISA for developmental activities for polymetallic nodules. The estimated polymetallic nodule resource potential is 380 million tonnes, containing 4.7 million tonnes of nickel, 4.29 million tonnes of copper and 0.55 million tonnes of cobalt and 92.59 million tonnes of manganese.
India is the first country to have received the status of a pioneer investor in 1987. The country was allocated an exclusive area in Central Indian Ocean Basin by the United Nations for exploration and utilization of nodules.
India is one among the top eight countries or contractors and is implementing a long–term programme on exploration and utilization of polymetallic nodules through the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences. This includes survey and exploration, environmental studies, technology development in mining and extractive metallurgy, in which significant contributions have been made.
What are polymetallic nodules?
• Polymetallic nodules are rock concretions on the sea bottom formed of concentric layers of iron and manganese hydroxides around a core.
• They are also called manganese nodules.
• Nodules vary in size from tiny particles visible only under a microscope to large pellets more than 20 centimetres across. However, most nodules are between 3 and 10 cm in diameter.
• Their surface textures vary from smooth to rough. They frequently have botryoidal texture and vary from spherical in shape to typically oblate, sometimes prolate, or are otherwise irregular.
About International Seabed Authority
• The International Seabed Authority is a UN body set up to regulate the exploration and exploitation of marine non-living resources of oceans in international waters.
• The body is based in Kingston, Jamaica.
• The ISA was established on 16 November 1994 by the Law of the Sea Convention.