China to expand seabed mining in Indian Ocean

PTI Beijing | Updated on September 17, 2011 Published on September 17, 2011

China today announced plans to expand its seabed mineral explorations in the Indian Ocean after an international authority approved its bid to mine for polymetallic sulphide ore, much to the surprise of India.

Beijing has approval to explore in a 10,000 sq km seabed area in southwest Indian Ocean for the ore and now it plans to invest more to expand the “depth and scope of oceanic research”.

Following the approval, China’s Ocean Mineral Resources Research and Development Association is set to sign a 15-year exploration contract with the International Seabed Authority (ISA) later this year granting pre-emptive rights for it to develop the ore deposit in future, state-run Xinhua reported.

“We will expand the depths and scope of oceanic research and improve our understanding of the ocean, with special focuses on the polar regions and deep sea environments,” Liu Cigui, head of the State Oceanic Administration (SOA), told a meeting on oceanic technology here.

The move has raised concerns in India with the Directorate of Naval Intelligence (DNI) informing the Indian government that the contract would provide an excuse for China to operate its warships besides compiling data on the vast mineral resources in India’s backyard.

Chinese released a guideline on the oceanic science and technology development between 2011 and 2015, vowing to invest more to boost the country’s maritime economy.

Liu said more efforts will be made to boost innovation and strive for breakthroughs in key technology in order to stimulate the development of emerging oceanic industries but did not mention the amount money China will be investing.

The announcement followed China’s bid for exploring the international seabed region of southwest Indian Ocean for polymetallic sulphide deposit was approved by ISA, last month much to the surprise+ of India.

Published on September 17, 2011
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