Chennai: In a significant step towards deep-
sea mining, India has successfully completed trial run of a
Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) that dived more than five km
depth to map sea-bed for resources in the Indian Ocean.
"The ROV has completed its trial run at a record depth of
over 5200 metres. It is a major achievement that we are able
to operate an unmanned vehicle at such depth where the
pressure would be unimaginable," Minister of State for Earth
Sciences Prithviraj Chavan told reporters here today.
The trial on April 17 was India`s "first step towards
deep-sea mining", Shailesh Nayak, Secretary, Ministry of Earth
Chavan, accompanied by top officials including Nayak, was
on his first visit to Chennai campus of National Institute of
Ocean Technology (NIOT), which is involved in the project.
With thinning terrestrial resources, and the focus
shifting on the sea for energy and other needs, "the
experience gained allows us to improve and replicate the
system," he said.
"Of course, the whole purpose of activities in ocean
science is to look at the possibilities of both living and
non-living resources that ocean has to give," Chavan said.
India became the first country to reach a depth of 5829
metres in central Indian Ocean, M A Atmanand, Director, NIOT,
An Indian flag was dropped at the point, around 2500 km
from southernmost tip Kanyakumari, to mark the occasion, he
Nayak said the data retrieved by the ROV, including
images and some microbes, was being analysed. "The basic idea
was to map the area to know what was there and what it takes
to work and mine."
Chavan said he looked forward to the presence of metals
like manganese, cobalt and nickel and also gas hydrates.
"India has mining rights to 75,000 sq km of sea, and as
terrestrial metal resources exhaust, this (deep sea-mining)
will start making sense and we have to make the beginning
somewhere," he said.
Chavan said research efforts focused on drugs from
deep-sea and explained that some animals and plants had
features of sustainability in adverse conditions which could
NIOT`s next challenge was to reach the 6000 metre mark,