The union cabinet has approved the long pending deep ocean mission, which among other things involves developing a submersible vehicle that will allow accrue to plunge 6000 metres into the ocean and hunt the floor for precious metals.
If this works India will be among a handful of countries able to launch underwater mission at such depths.
The estimated cost for the first phase of three years (2021-24) would be ₹2,0077 crore over the next five years. The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) will be the nodal Ministry implementing this multi-institutional mission.
There are six components to the programme.
A manned submersible will be developed to carry three people to a depth of 6,000 metres in the ocean with a scientific sensors and tools. An integrated mining system will also be developed for mining polymetalic nodules at those depths in the central Indian Ocean.
The second component involves developing Ocean Climate change advisory services, which entails developing a suit of observation and models to understand and provide future projections of important climate variables on seasonal to decadal time scales.
The next component is searching for deep sea flora and fauna, and studying ways to sustainably utilise them.
To explore and identify potential sources of hydrothermal minerals that are sources of precious metals form from the earth’s crust along the Indian Ocean mid oceanic ridges.
It also involves studying and pairing detailed engineering design for offshore ocean Thermal Conversion (OTEC) powered desalination plants.
The final component is aimed at grooming exports in the field of ocean biology and engineering. This component aims to translate resorts into industrial applications and product development through on site business incubator facilities.
The deep ocean mission was in 2019 envisaged as a rupees 8000 crore mission. India has been allotted a site of 75,000 square kilometres in Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB) be by the UN international sea bed authority for exploitation of polymetallic nodules pm these are rocks scattered on the sea bed containing iron, manganese, nickel and cobalt.
Being able to lay hands on a fraction of that reserve can meet the energy requirement of India for the next 100 years, sale offer shoes at the Earth Ministry.