S Korea wins rights to undersea mine in Indian Ocean
Seoul: South Korea on Monday announced that it has secured exclusive rights to explore and develop a deep sea mine in the resource-rich Indian Ocean that can produce over USD 300 million worth of minerals like gold, silver and coppers per year.
The International Seabed Authority (ISA) last week unanimously agreed to recognise South Korea's rights to the offshore mine that lies across an area of 10,000 square kilometers in the Indian Ocean, the government said.
The site contains hydrothermal vents that could yield metals including gold, silver, copper, zinc and lead, South Korea's maritime ministry said in a statement.
The estimated production would reach about 46,000 tonnes, worth USD 320 million, per annum, it said.
"This is the result of aggressive efforts by the government and related agencies on investment, research and international diplomacy... Amid fierce global competition to secure resources," it said.
South Korea is Asia's fourth largest economy. Its economy is export-driven, with production focusing on electronics, automobiles, ships, machinery, petrochemicals and robotics.
Energy-hungry China last year was given exclusive rights to explore 10,000 square-km of seabed in the southwest Indian Ocean in an area off the coast of Africa.