India makes official bid for seabed sulphide mining

India has made an exploration claim for seabed poly-metallic sulphide mining in the Indian Ocean near Mauritius.

The proposal was placed with the International Seabed Authority (ISA), established as part of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

"We are awaiting a response from the ISA…we already have a dedicated region in the Indian Ocean region for the purpose of mining," said a senior official from the Indian earth science ministry.

"For any further extension or new explorations beyond the designated sub basin region, we have to make a claim through ISA to avail rights for mining. This is all about administering the resources of the sea and now we are in the queue."

Getting a green light from ISA is said to include significant political lobbying:

"It is similar to that of a real estate industry or cybersquatting where a lot of small islands and countries play the game of ownerships and claims they have made years ago," said an Indian government official.

India’s ocean exploration program is around two decades old and has involved nickel, copper, cobalt and rare earth metals, which are particularly abundant in the Central Indian Basin.

India has tested seabed mining to a depth of 512 metres and it’s now targeting depths up to 6,000m.