First seabed exploration for gold and other mineral deposits commences in Indian Ocean

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 First seabed exploration for gold and other mineral deposits commences in Indian OceanThe country’s first ever seabed exploration for polymetallic sulphides is being done in the Rodriguez Triple Junction (RTJ), a geological junction in the southern Indian Ocean where three tectonic plates meet near Mauritius, says a report.

The report further adds that the country has been granted 10,000sq km near RTJ for seabed exploration of polymetallic sulphide, a mineral deposit with three or more metals in commercial quantities. The license to conduct exploration for 15 years was granted in 2014 by the International Seabed Authority (ISA), an autonomous international organization established under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. First level of exploration has been completed. A large amount of data was collected, including videos and photographs which are being analysed, adds a report.

The second level of exploration is expected to begin soon and would be jointly taken up by National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), Chennai and NCAOR. The process involves a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) that identifies hydrothermal vents, which are fissures on the surface, commonly found near active volcanic areas associated with tectonic structures.

The report adds that polymetallic sulphide commonly holds copper, iron and lead, besides gold and silver in lesser quantities. A scientist at NCAOR said that a ROSUB 6000, a work class underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) with a depth rating of 6,000 metres developed at NIOT will be deployed. It will capture videos with its high resolution cameras from a distance of about 1.5 metres, as the black smokers vent eject hot fluid that have high temperature of 350 to 375 degrees Celsius. The exploration will also help in studying the chemosynthetic bacteria which forms the base of the food chain.



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