The Indian Ocean offers several opportunities for offshore mineral resources in the nearshore and coastal areas, the EEZs of different countries as well as the deep sea regions. With the increasing demands and depletion of land resources, the oceans are being looked upon as the future source of these minerals for sustaining the industrial development. The coastal and nearshore resources of heavy mineral placers are being successfully mined in some of the countries around the Indian Ocean, and ample opportunity lies in exploring for these resources in the hitherto unexplored areas, to build up the reserves for the future. Simultaneously, activities in the deep sea areas for polymetallic nodules, crusts and sulfides need acceleration owing to their potential for strategic metals, such as cobalt, nickel, lead and zinc. These efforts call for cooperation and sharing of facilities, infrastructure, know-how and expertise, among the national as well as international agencies for exploration, mining, impact assessment and metallurgical process development. With its strategic location in the Indian Ocean, India could also play a major role in assisting the other countries in developing their offshore mineral resources.


Offshore mineral exploration activities for the minerals in. the Indian Ocean, started several decades ago. Initially, the efforts were focused on the areas closer to the land, and with the expertise gained in the nearshore and continental shelf areas, the activities were extended to deep-sea mineral exploration. Having undertaken the exploration activities in the Indian offshore regions successfully, India has also been asked to explore the EEZ of island nations, such as Seychelles, Mauritius and the Caribbean. At. the turn of the century, it is important to review the achievements and experiences, so as to prioritise the resources from viewpoint of the global as well· as local economies.

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