The Union Cabinet on 12 September 2016 approved the extension of contract between Ministry of Earth Sciences and the International Seabed Authority (ISA) for exploration of Polymetallic Nodules.
The contract has been extended for a further period of 5 years (2017-2022). The earlier contract is expiring on 24 March 2017.
Why the contract is extended?
• By extending the contract, India's exclusive rights for exploration of Polymetallic Nodules in the allotted Area in the Central Indian Ocean Basin will continue.
• It will open up new opportunities for resources of commercial and strategic value in area beyond national jurisdiction.
• Besides, it will provide strategic importance for India in terms of enhanced presence in Indian Ocean where other international players are also active.
• At present, India has an area of 75000 sq.km. located about 2000 km away from her southern tip for exploration of Polymetallic nodules.
What are Polymetallic Nodules?
• Polymetallic nodules are also known as manganese nodules.
• They are potato-shaped, largely porous nodules found in abundance carpeting the sea floor of world oceans in deep sea.
• Besides manganese and iron, they contain nickel, copper, cobalt, lead, molybdenum, cadmium, vanadium, titanium.
• Out of the minerals found in it, nickel, cobalt and copper are considered to be of economic and strategic importance.
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When: 12 September 2016