India needs vital minerals such as copper, cobalt, nickel and manganese for future generation manufacturing including the production of hybrid cars, and smartphones. Currently, China has a monopoly over such minerals. Indian scientists estimate 380 million tons of polymetallic nodules in the retained Indian Pioneer area.
India's National Institute of Ocean Technology has been working on a mining concept where a crawler-based mining machine collects, crushes and pumps nodules to the mother ship using a positive displacement pump through a flexible riser system.
Last year, India signed a 15-year contract with the International Seabed Authority (ISA) for exploration of Poly-Metallic Sulphides in the Indian Ocean. It is expected that basic exploration activities would require no more than $100 million.
India has a 7,500-km coastline and 2.4 million square kilometers of Exclusive Economic Zone.