The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) has drawn up a five year plan with an aim to explore deep oceans, The Hindu has reported. The proposed budget for the mission is Rs 8000 crore. Two key projects planned in the ‘Deep Ocean Mission’ report include a desalination plant powered by tidal energy and a submersible vehicle that can explore depths of at least 6,000 metres.
“The mission proposes to explore the deep ocean similar to the space exploration started by ISRO about 35 years ago,” the MoES report said. The focus of the organisation will be on deep-sea mining, ocean climate change advisory services, underwater vehicles and underwater robotics related technologies.
India has been allotted 75,000 square kilometres in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB) by UN International Sea Bed Authority for exploration of poly-metallic nodules. CIOB reserves contain deposits of metals like iron, manganese, nickel and cobalt.
“It is envisaged that 10 per cent of recovery of that large reserve can meet the energy requirement of India for the next 100 years. It has been estimated that 380 million metric tonnes of polymetallic nodules are available at the bottom of the seas in the Central Indian Ocean,” the MoES report said.
The ‘Deep Ocean Mission’ plan will enable India to develop capabilities to exploit resources in the CIOB.
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