Tuesday, 25 September 2012

International Seabed Authority and related events


The International Seabed Authority is an autonomous international organization established under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the SeaThe Authority is the organization through which States Parties organize and control activities in the International seabed Area (i.e.outside of national jurisdictions), particularly with a view to administering the resources of the Area.  

Recently China bid for mining rights in the international seabed of the Indian Ocean. This was granted by the Authority. Many in India have seen this as a loss for India which should have spearheaded such efforts to maintain its control over the Indian Ocean Region. China and Japan are also vying for exploration rights for possible rare earth metals in the Pacific Ocean. 



India has joined the race to explore and develop deep-sea mining for rare earth elements — further  complicating the geopolitics surrounding untapped sources of valuable minerals beneath the oceans.
The country is building a rare-earth mineral processing plant in the east coast state of Orissa and it is spending around US$135 million to buy a new exploration ship and to retool another for sophisticated deep-water exploration off its coast.
The Central Indian Basin, for example, is rich in nickel, copper, cobalt and potentially rare-earth minerals, which are highly lucrative and used widely in manufacturing electronics such as mobile phone batteries. They are found in potato-shaped nodules on the deep-sea floor.
The recent push for deep-sea mining exploration reflects India's concerns that China's deep-sea excavations will further increase China's dominance over rare-earth elements, which are used in aviation and defence manufacturing, as well as electronics.
Late last year, the China Ocean Mineral Resources Research and Development Association (COMRA) obtained a licence to mine polymetallic sulphides in the Southwest Indian Ridge (SWIR). The SWIR is a divergent tectonic plate boundary between the African and Antarctic plates, running from the South Atlantic to a junction — the place where two or more plates meet — in the Indian Ocean just south of Madagascar.
Deep-sea mining will help meet the "critical and strategic needs of the country, particularly in the area of access to rare earth materials", Kumarsaid during last month's announcements regarding deep-sea deployments.
China currently controls around 95 per cent of global rare-earth mineral output.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/aug/30/india-mining?newsfeed=true

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