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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 17 June, 2021

  • 15 Min Read

Deep Ocean Mission

Deep Ocean Mission

The Union Cabinet has approved the long-pending deep ocean mission, which among other things involves developing a submersible vehicle that will allow a crew to plunge 6,000 metres into the ocean and hunt the floor for precious metals.

  • The Deep Ocean Mission was 2019 envisaged as a ? 8,000 crore mission.
  • India has been allotted a site of 75,000 square kilometres in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB) by the UN International Sea Bed Authority for the exploitation of polymetallic nodules (PMN).
  • These are rocks scattered on the seabed containing iron, manganese, nickel and cobalt.

  • Funding: In the works since 2018, the mission is expected to cost ?4,077 crores over the next five years. The estimated cost for the first phase of three years (2021-24) would be ? 2,823.4 crore.
  • Nodal Ministry: The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) will be the nodal Ministry implementing this multi-institutional mission.

There are 6 components to the programme:

  • Submersible Vehicle: A manned submersible will be developed to carry 3 people to a depth of 6,000 metres in the ocean with a suite of scientific sensors and tools. An integrated mining system will be also developed for mining polymetallic nodules at those depths in the central Indian Ocean.
  • Ocean Climate Change Advisory Services: The second component involves developing Ocean Climate Change Advisory Services, which entails developing a suite of observations and models to understand and provide future projections of important climate variables on seasonal to decadal time scales.
  • Flora and Fauna: The next component is searching for deep sea flora and fauna, including microbes, and studying ways to sustainably utilise them.
  • Hydrothermal minerals: The fourth component is to explore and identify potential sources of hydrothermal minerals that are sources of precious metals formed from the earth’s crust along the Indian Ocean mid-oceanic ridges.
  • Desalination and OTEC: The fifth component involves studying and preparing detailed engineering design for offshore Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) powered desalination plants.
  • Expertise: The final component is aimed at grooming experts in the field of ocean biology and engineering. This component aims to translate research into industrial applications and product development through on-site business incubator facilities.

Significance:

  • If this works, India will be among a handful of countries able to launch an underwater mission at such depths.
  • The exploration studies of minerals will pave way for the commercial exploitation in the near future, as and when commercial exploitation code is evolved by the International Seabed Authority, an United Nations organisation
  • Being able to lay hands on a fraction of that reserve can meet the energy requirement of India for the next 100 years.

Source: TH

  • 15 March, 2021

  • 4 Min Read

Deep Ocean Mission

Deep Ocean Mission

  • The Deep Ocean Mission is proposed as the multi-ministerial multi-disciplinary programme with an emphasis on the development of deep-sea technology, exploration of deep-sea mineral resources and biodiversity, acquisition of a research vessel for exploration, deep sea observations, and capacity building. Ministry of Earth Sciences is the nodal agency for implementing the programme.
  • The Deep Ocean Mission is proposed to be a Central Sector Scheme and no separate allocation for States is envisaged.
  • It is proposed to collaborate with non-governmental organizations for research collaboration for various components of the Deep Ocean Mission.
  • Under Deep Ocean Mission, it is proposed to develop, test and demonstrate the mining technology for harvesting polymetallic nodules from the Test Mine Site (TMS) in the allocated area of 75000 sq. km in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB).
  • A manned submersible for 6000 m depth is also proposed to be developed as an ocean exploratory tool.

The major objectives proposed under Deep Ocean Mission are as follows:

  1. Development of technologies for deep-sea mining, underwater vehicles and underwater robotics;
  2. Development of ocean climate change advisory services;
  3. Technological innovations for exploration and conservation of deepsea biodiversity;
  4. Deep ocean survey and exploration;
  5. Proof of concept studies on energy and freshwater from the ocean; and
  6. Establishing an advanced marine station for ocean biology.

Source: TH

  • 11 May, 2020

  • 2 Min Read

Deep Ocean Mission

Deep Ocean Mission

  • The government of India is all set to launch the ‘Deep Ocean Mission by January 2018 and it will improve India’s position in the ocean research field.
  • Achievements in the field of ocean research: The program on Poly metallic nodules was initiated at CSIR-NIO with the collection of the first nodule sample from the Arabian Sea on board the first Research Vessel Gaveshani on 26 January 1981.
  • India was the first country in the world to have been given the Pioneer Area for exploration of deep-sea minerals viz. Polymetallic nodules in the Central Indian Ocean Basin in 1987.
  • Based on the resource evaluation, India has now retained an area of 75,000 sq km with an estimated resource of about 100 million tons of strategic metals such as Copper, Nickel, and Cobalt besides Manganese and Iron.
  • A First Generation Mine-site (FGM) with an area of 18,000 sq km has been identified. Latest technologies for the extraction of metals from the minerals have also been developed under the programme.

Source: TH

GS-III :
  • 09 August, 2019

  • Min Read

Deep Ocean Mission

GS-III: Deep Ocean Mission

News

The Deep Ocean Mission (DOM) to explore the deepest recesses of the ocean has finally got the green signal from the government.

Deep Ocean Mission (DOM)

  • Nodal Agency: Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES)
  • The mission proposes to explore the deep ocean similar to the space exploration started by ISRO.
  • Underwater robotics and ‘manned’ submersibles are key components of the Mission which will help India harness various living and non-living (water, mineral and energy) resources from the seabed and deep water.
  • The tasks that will be undertaken over this period include deep-sea mining, survey, energy exploration and offshore-based desalination.
  • These technological developments are funded under an umbrella scheme of the government – called Ocean Services, Technology, Observations, Resources Modelling and Science (O-SMART).

The objective of the mission

  • A major thrust of the mission will be looking for metals and minerals.
  • 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.
  • These are rocks scattered on the seabed containing iron, manganese, nickel and cobalt.
  • The ‘Deep Ocean Mission’ plan will enable India to develop capabilities to exploit resources in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB).

What are Polymetallic Nodules?

Polymetallic nodules (also known as manganese nodules) are potato-shaped, largely porous nodules found in abundance carpeting the sea floor of the world oceans in the deep sea. Besides manganese and iron, they contain nickel, copper, cobalt, lead, molybdenum, cadmium, vanadium, and titanium, of which nickel, cobalt and copper are considered to be of economic and strategic importance.

About International Seabed Authority(ISA)

International Seabed Authority (ISA) is a UN body set up to regulate the exploration and exploitation of marine non-living resources of oceans in international waters. India actively contributes to the work of the International Seabed Authority. Last year, India was re-elected as a member of the Council of ISA. India’s nominees on the Legal and Technical Commission and Finance Committee of the ISA were also elected last year.

Source: The Hindu


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