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Deep Sea Mining

Advancement in exploration technology has enabled the coastal nations to examine the feasibility of exploiting the seabed resources. Research suggests that there is vast unexplored stock of minerals on the seabed such as hydrocarbons, oil &natural gas, manganese noodles, cobalt, rare earth metals, among others. Since the current pace of resource extraction from landmass is alarming in most countries of the world, the demand for minerals can be met by exploration of deep-sea minerals. It is highly dependent on sophisticated technology and requires continuous investment in R&D. It is believed that the potential for exploration of seabed resources in the Indian Ocean is yet to be fully exploited. Some of the Indian Ocean countries including India, Australia, Indonesia and others have made significant investments in developing technology and conducting feasibility studies. Although deep-sea mining opens up opportunities for additional sources of resources, it inflicts costs to the society in terms of adverse effects on the marine environment. Before designing the mining system, proper geological, meteorological and biological assessments should be done. In a regional context like the IORA, the issues of technology transfer and sharing of best practices can also be explored. Australia has a very strong offshore resources sector which could be harnessed for the country as well as for the prosperity of the nation.