India in undersea race to mine world’s battery metal

India in undersea race to mine world’s battery metal
India in undersea race to mine world’s battery metal

We show you our most important and recent visitors news details India in undersea race to mine world’s battery metal in the following article

Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - NEW DELHI — India is taking another step in its quest to find valuable minerals hidden in the depths of the ocean which could hold the key to a cleaner future.

The country, which already has two deep-sea exploration licenses in the Indian Ocean, has applied for two more amid increasing competition between major global powers to secure critical minerals.

Countries including China, Russia and India are vying to reach the huge deposits of mineral resources — cobalt, nickel, copper, manganese — that lie thousands of meters below the surface of oceans. These are used to produce renewable energy such as solar and wind power, electric vehicles and battery technology needed to battle against climate change.

The UN-affiliated International Seabed Authority (ISA) has issued 31 exploration licenses so far, of which 30 are active. Its member countries are meeting in Jamaica this week to discuss regulations around giving out mining licenses.

If the ISA approves India's new applications, its license count will be equal to that of Russia and one less than China.

One of India's applications seeks to explore polymetallic sulfides — chimney-like mounds near hydrothermal vents containing copper, zinc, gold and silver — in the Carlsberg Ridge of the Central Indian Ocean.

The ISA's legal and technical commission has sent a list of comments and questions about this to the Indian government, according to a document seen by the BBC.

In response to the other application — to explore the cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts of the Afanasy-Nikitin Seamount in the Central Indian Ocean — the commission has noted that another unnamed country has claimed the seabed area (that India has applied for) as part of their extended continental shelf and asked India for a response.

Whatever the outcome of the applications, one thing is clear: India does not want to fall behind in the race to secure critical minerals from the bottom of the oceans.

"The Indian Ocean promises tremendous potential reserves and that expanse has motivated the government of India to increase its scientific exploration of the ocean's depths," says Nathan Picarsic, co-founder of Horizon Advisory, a US-based geopolitical and supply chain intelligence provider.

India, China, Germany and South Korea already have exploration licenses for polymetallic sulfides in the Indian Ocean ridge area.

In 2022, India's National Institute of Ocean Technology conducted trials of its mining machine at a depth of 5,270m in the central Indian Ocean basin and collected some polymetallic nodules (potato-shaped rocks that lie on the seafloor and are rich in manganese, cobalt, nickel, and copper).

India's earth sciences ministry did not respond to the BBC's questions on the country's deep-sea mining plans.

"India may be ultimately seeking to project that it is a powerhouse in its own right, one that is not to be outrivalled in its own backyard, as well as to give the impression that it is not lagging behind the Chinese when it comes to the deep sea," says Pradeep Singh, who works on ocean governance at the Research Institute for Sustainability in Potsdam, Germany.

The US is not part of the race to mine international waters as it has not ratified the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the agreement which led to the creation of the ISA. Instead, it aims to source minerals from its domestic seabed and process ones mined by its allies from international waters.

Supporters of deep seabed exploration say that mining on land has almost reached a saturation point, resulting in low-quality production, and that many of the mineral source areas are plagued by conflict or environmental issues.

But environmental campaigners say the deep seabed is the last frontier in the planet that remains largely unstudied and untouched by humanity and mining there could cause irreparable damage, no matter how pressing the need.

Around two dozen countries — including the UK, Germany, Brazil and Canada — are also demanding either a halt or a temporary pause on deep-sea mining, given what they say is a lack of information about the marine ecosystems in those depths.

The World Bank has projected that the extraction of critical minerals will need to increase fivefold by 2050 to meet the demand for clean energy technologies.

India has a short-term target of increasing its renewables capacity to 500 gigawatts by 2030, and meeting 50% of its energy requirements from renewables by then, with the long-term goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2070.

To meet these targets, experts say India will need to secure critical minerals from all possible sources including the deep seabed.

Currently, a few countries dominate the production of critical minerals on land. Australia is a major producer of lithium, while Chile is the top provider of copper. China predominantly produces graphite and rare earths (used in smartphones and computers).

But there are geopolitical concerns about China's dominance in processing these minerals before they enter the supply chain.

China — which has honed processing technologies and expertise over decades — currently controls 100% of the refined supply of natural graphite and dysprosium, 70% of cobalt and almost 60% of all processed lithium and manganese, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Moreover, Beijing has banned the export of some of its processing technologies.

"We are up against a dominant supplier that is willing to weaponise market power for political gain," US energy secretary Jennifer Granholm said at a critical minerals and clean energy summit in August 2023.

It's to counter China that the US and several western countries launched the Minerals Security Partnership — to catalyse "investment in responsible critical minerals supply chains" — in 2022. India is now a member.

India has also signed an agreement with Russia to develop deep-sea mining technologies.

"The confluence of rising geopolitical tensions and the energy transition is speeding up the scramble to extract, process and utilise critical minerals," Picarsic says. — BBC

These were the details of the news India in undersea race to mine world’s battery metal for this day. We hope that we have succeeded by giving you the full details and information. To follow all our news, you can subscribe to the alerts system or to one of our different systems to provide you with all that is new.

It is also worth noting that the original news has been published and is available at Saudi Gazette and the editorial team at AlKhaleej Today has confirmed it and it has been modified, and it may have been completely transferred or quoted from it and you can read and follow this news from its main source.

NEXT Barrage of Russian attacks aims to cut Ukraine's lights

Author Information

I have been an independent financial adviser for over 11 years in the city and in recent years turned my experience in finance and passion for journalism into a full time role. I perform analysis of Companies and publicize valuable information for shareholder community. Address: 2077 Sharon Lane Mishawaka, IN 46544, USA Phone: (+1) 574-255-1083 Email: [email protected]