New Delhi [India] : Minister of State for External Affairs, V. Muraleedharan on Friday said that the depleting land resources coupled with the ever-increasing demands for metals and minerals have led to the resurgence of global interest in exploring marine mineral resources.
Addressing the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Conference on Future of Natural Resources virtually, the MoS said that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), increasing population and transition to green technologies are bound to increase the demands for metals. Metals such as nickle and cobalt play a crucial role in promoting renewable energy technologies needed to curtail global warming and the environment and the social cause often linked to existing terrestrial mining practices. “Gas hydrate deficits may contain roughly twice the carbon contained in all reserves of coal, oil and conventional natural gas combined making them a potentially valuable energy resource. Hence the development of marine mineral resources becomes imperative to meet the demand for future industrial and economic progress in a sustainable manner,” said Muraleedharan.
The minister further said that India holds a unique maritime possession and is surrounded by the oceans on its three sides. Around 30 per cent of India’s population is living in coastal areas. Its 7,517 km long coastline is home to nine coastal states. For India, oceans are a major economic factor supporting fisheries and aquaculture, tourism livelihood.
“India is one of the frontline nations in marine scientific research and is also actively engaged in exploring the resourceful ocean bed for meeting the country’s future energy and metal demands. The Government of India’s mission of New India by 2030 underlines the blue economy as one of the 10 crore dimensions of growth,” he said.
Stressing on India’s self-dependence in the energy sector, the minister said that it is extremely important for an Atma Nirbhar Bharat. India’s accelerated progress in developing its blue economy and harnessing its ocean resources is a key to India’s energy self-reliance. To achieve its target, India has set a target of 450GW of renewable energy by the end of this decade, that is, 2030.
“We believe in One Sun, One World and One Grid,” he said.
Enumerating the initiatives of the government, Muraleedharan said that India has been conducting detailed studies and explorations on deep-sea minerals and the country has also been conducting detailed experiments on harnessing energy from the ocean. India has also taken several initiatives for the development of marine fisheries in a sustainable manner.
“We are also carrying out offshore marine surveys and exploration in the exclusive economic zone of India to identify potential zone for mineral resources. We are taking scientific studies and development of technology for gas hydric for the exploration of ocean resources in the Bay of Bengal,” he said.
Talking about the challenges faced by the government in its way towards fulfilling the goal, he said that challenges include the development of suitable technologies for effective mining of some of the deep-sea mineral resources and exploitation of gas hydrates resources.