Race to the bottom? India plans deep dive for seabed minerals – by Annie Banerji (Thomson Reuters Foundation – December 5, 2018)

http://news.trust.org/

As expanding technology and infrastructure fuel global demand for resources, manufacturing powerhouses India and China, are eyeing the ocean

CHENNAI, Dec 5 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – In the 1870 Jules Verne classic “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, underwater explorer Captain Nemo predicted the mining of the ocean floor’s mineral bounty – zinc, iron, silver and gold.

India is catching up with that only now, as it prepares to unearth treasures down below, aiming to boost its economy. The floor of the world’s seas is scattered with vast beds of black potato-shaped polymetallic nodules comprising copper, nickel, cobalt, manganese, iron and rare earth elements.

These natural goodies are key to making modern gadgets, from smartphones and laptops to pacemakers, hybrid cars and solar panels. As expanding technology and infrastructure fuel global demand for these resources – whose supply is dwindling fast onshore – more and more countries, including manufacturing powerhouses India and China, are eyeing the ocean.

“We have to depend on ocean resources sooner or later … there is no other way,” said Gidugu Ananda Ramadass, head of India’s deep sea mining project at the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) in the southern city of Chennai.

“For the future of mankind … the ocean is the only hope,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. India, Asia’s third-largest economy, is going full steam ahead in anticipation of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) – a U.N. body that oversees mining on the high seas – giving the green light for commercial exploitation.

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