The National Institute of Ocean Technology is developing a crawler to take up underwater sea mining below 6,000 metres, according to Union Secretary of Earth Sciences Ministry Shailesh Nayak. Nayak told City Express that NIOT was developing a crawler for polymetallic nodule mining.
Polymetallic nodules contain cobalt, copper, manganese and nickel, in addition to small amounts of aluminium iron and rare metals such as molybdenum, tellurium and titanium.
“We already have under-water mining system for 1,100 metres and NIOT is developing the crawler to mine 6,000 metre below the sea. This is likely to take two to three years,” Nayak said.
NIOT is also simultaneously developing a collector and crusher system for manganese nodule mining.
He said the entire structure was indigenously developed.
Interestingly, the high demand for metals has fuelled interest in deep ocean mining as land-based resources get stretched and need increases in nations that havegrowing economies
Nayak also said that with the dwindling of beaches in Puducherry, NIOT had begun a study on how to restore beaches in the Union Territory. ”We are examining how beach erosion could be arrested,” he said.