Polymetallic (Manganese) nodules attracted the attention of world community in the mid sixties as a potential economic resource of strategic minerals like Copper, Nickel and Cobalt. Since then both industrialized and developing countries have become increasingly aware of the economic importance of the recoverable resources. India as a pioneer investor in the Indian Ocean has retained an area of 75,000 sq. km. for various research and development works. The estimated total resources in the Indian Ocean is estimated to be about 15 x 1010 tonnes and the existing prime area suitable for first generation mining of nodules is around 50 x 104 Sq. Km. The Nodules from the Central Indian Basin (CIB), only, meet the first generation mine site criteria and scientific studies have confirmed that the ore grade nodule resources are mainly concentrated between 10° S and 16° S. Also at 2% cut-off grade, nearly one third of the explored area in CIB provides high grade regions. India has developed a crawler based shallow bed mining system, as a part of joint activities with University of Seigen, Germany, and the system has been tested up to 400 m depth. The system constitutes a crawler based collector module, Riser module (flexible hose) and Control module. The data generated form trials at shallower depths is being used for preliminary design for nodule mining system suitable for operations in CIB. An Emerging Concept of a deep seabed mining system is discussed in this paper. The land resources of the world in respect of four metals, namely Manganese, Cobalt, Nickel and Copper are presented and compared with potential metal resources of deep sea manganese nodules. Also an attempt has been made for inference on future metal requirements and prices based on present and historical consumption and production patterns.

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