Minerals from the sea
Recent years have seen a growing national and international interest in extraction of mineral resources from the deep sea. However, scant understanding of deep sea ecosystems make mining in these areas potentially hazardous to both ecologies and traditional fishing livelihoods. Fishing communities face restricted access to fishing grounds and disturbance of marine resources due to mining activities.
Our study examines oceanic mineral extraction in the Indian context. We find that it is an ideal time to engage with governments and push for progressive seabed mining policies and regulations as the development of the deep sea-bed mining sector and associated technologies are largely occurring within a regulatory void. That is, at present, national seabed mining regulations in India merely piggyback on existing terrestrial mining and offshore oil and gas mining regulations. This trend is also echoed in international seabed mining, with deep-sea mining regulations still being formulated by the International Seabed Authority. Thus the opportunity is ripe for individual nations such as India to not only responsibly govern the seabed mining activities of its own citizens and corporations but also pave the way for a progressive deep-sea mining policy that can apply to both national and international waters.