Consider the following statements:
- The Global Ocean Commission grants licences for seabed exploration and mining in international waters.
- India has received licences for seabed mineral exploration in international waters.
- ‘Rare earth minerals’ are present on seafloor in international waters.
Which of the statements given above are correct?
[UPSC Civil Services Exam – 2021 Prelims]
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
- Statement 1 is incorrect as the International Seabed Authority (ISA) not only considers applications for exploration and exploitation of deep-sea resources but also issues licenses to contractors, regulates and monitors their activities, and manages the revenues generated from such activities.
- The ISA also supervises environmental impact assessments and ensures the protection of the marine environment.
- Statement 2 is correct. India was designated as a ‘Pioneer Investor’ in 1987 by the International Seabed Authority (ISA), and it was granted an exclusive right to explore polymetallic nodules in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB) covering an area of approximately 1.5 lakh sq km.
- Recently, India’s exclusive rights to explore polymetallic nodules from the seabed in the CIOB have been extended for another five years by the ISA.
- India has been allocated over 75,000 sq km of area in international waters for developmental activities related to polymetallic nodules.
- Statement 3 is correct. The ocean floors of various oceans hold vast reserves of rare-earth elements, making them one of the world’s largest untapped sources of such elements.
- For instance, scientists have discovered a massive reserve of rare earth elements in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Japan.