India has announced plans for deep-sea mining to meet its future requirements of rare earth minerals such as titanium, platinum, manganese, copper, cobalt and nickel.
These minerals are required for a variety of electronic goods such as lithium car batteries, solar panels, wind turbines, flat screen television, compact fluorescent light bulbs, and military components such as missile guidance systems.
“We have the capability to mine the ocean bed at a depth of 6,000 metres using our ship ‘Sagar Nidhi’. We are inducting two more ships, one acquired from a Korean shipyard and one built at Surat to augment our capabilities,” the Minister of State for Planning, Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Mr Ashwani Kumar, said at a press conference here.
He said India was not looking at exploring the ocean bed for commercial profits but with a strategic purpose citing the strides made by China. “Countries like China have taken to deep sea mining with a strategic purpose. They are maintaining their presence in the high seas by claiming to undertake deep sea mining,” he said.
Mr Kumar, who chaired a meeting of top officials to review the science sector, said moves were also afoot to enhance sea mining capabilities by refurbishing an old research vessel ‘Sagar Kanya’.
He said 200 scientists and 2,000 researchers will be identified to create the necessary internal eco-system, human resource and demand to promote and develop high-power computing and supercomputing.
The aim is to create an ecosystem where 25 per cent of the country is connected by supercomputer activity. “For this, a proposal has been received for establishing 200 centres connected over the National Knowledge Network,’ he said.
Also, BARC will acquire by 2014 peta flop capability through a cluster approach connected by a fibre optic switch. “This will enable modelling and simulation of high-speed nuclear process, including radiation modelling, coupled with atmospheric changes,” he added.