India looks for rare earths under the sea

India is already building a rare-earth mineral processing plant in the east coast state of Orissa and will invest $135 million in a new exploration ship and the refurbishing of another vessel to mine minerals under its oceans.

Only last week, State-owned Rare Earths Ltd. (IREL) applied for approval from the Orissa state government for a rare earth exploration permit on a 2,500ha coastal land package at Bramhagiri in Puri district. IREL is hopeful the results of this exploration will help India meet its own demand for minerals.

But according to The Guardian India’s ocean exploration program is around two decades old. The country, says the report, has already tested seabed mining to a depth of 512 metres and it’s now targeting depths up to 6,000m.

Other than rare earths, India’s underwater exploration plan focuses on nickel, copper, cobalt, and rare earths, which are particularly abundant in the Central Indian Basin.

In 2011 the Papua New Guinea Government granted permission to Canada-based Nautilus Minerals Inc. (TSX:NUS)(OTCQX:NUSMF)(AIM:NUS) to start the world’s first deep-sea mining project.

Nautilus’ gold and copper Solwara 1 project has been facing some issues recently, as the company is battling authorities in regards to its obligation to complete the agreement reached in March last year.

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Nautilus dispute with Papua New Guinea authorities threatening underwater mining future >> >>