China to Mine Polymetallic Sulphide in Indian Ocean

K J M Varma/Beijing
China to Mine Polymetallic Sulphide in Indian Ocean
Cementing its foothold in India's backyard, China today signed a contract with the International Seabed Authority (ISA) to gain rights to explore poly metallic sulphide ore deposit in Indian Ocean over the next 15 years.

The exploration contract was signed between China Ocean Mineral Resources Research and Development Association and UN- backed International Seabed Authority (ISA), which is an inter-governmental body with observer status in the UN.

The contract awarded the Chinese association exclusive rights to explore a 10,000-square-km of international seabed in the southwest Indian Ocean, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

According to the contract, the Chinese association will have to give up 75 per cent of the ore deposit region within 10 years before enjoying pre-emptive rights of commercially mining the remaining 2,500-square-km, the report said.

The Chinese association will also have to fulfill specified duties of conducting environmental monitoring, environmental baseline research and training scientific workers for other developing countries, according to the contract.

Friday's signing is the second time China has gained the right to explore an international seabed ore deposit.

In 2001, it obtained rights to prospect a 75,000-square-km area of international seabed for poly metallic nodule ore in the northeast Pacific Ocean.

The move has already raised concerns in India when it was announced in August.

The Directorate of Naval Intelligence (DNI) reportedly expressed its reservations to the Indian government about the deal which it believed could provide an excuse for China to operate its warships besides compiling data on the vast mineral resources in India’s backyard.
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