India today signed a fifteen year MoU with the International Seabed Authority (ISA), a move that will give New Delhi the exclusive rights to exploration of Polymetallic Sulphides (PMS) in Indian Ocean.
Further, it will enhance India’s presence in the Indian Ocean where other players like China, Korea and Germany are active.
The contract was signed by M Rajeevan, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences and Nii Allotey Odunton, Secretary General, ISA, an institution set up under the Convention on Law of the Sea to which India is a party.
The programme will be implemented by the Ministry of Earth Sciences with the participation of various national institutes and research laboratories/organisations.
The ISA earlier approved an application submitted by the Ministry of Earth Sciences for allotment of 10,000 sq km area along with 15-year plan of work for exploration of PMS along Central Indian Ridge (CIR) and Southwest Indian Ridge (SWIR) region of the Indian Ocean.
The Union Cabinet approved signing of this contract in its meeting held on June 15.
Polymetallic Sulphides, containing iron, copper, zinc, silver, gold, platinum in variable constitutions, are precipitates of hot fluids from upwelling hot magma from deep interior of the oceanic crust.
PMS in the ocean ridges have attracted worldwide attention for their long term commercial as well as strategic value.