Polymetallic Nodules

Polymetallic nodules on the deep sea floor

Context: India has extended exclusive rights to explore polymetallic nodules from seabed in Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB).

  • Polymetallic nodules (PMN) are also known as manganese nodules.
  • They are potato-shaped, largely porous nodules found in abundance carpeting the sea floor in the deep sea of the world oceans.
  • The polymetallic nodules carpet practically 70% of the deep sea floor. The nodules have been found in all the oceans and even in lakes
  • Besides manganese and iron, they contain nickel, copper, cobalt, lead, molybdenum, cadmium, vanadium, titanium.
  • Of these metals nickel, cobalt and copper are considered to be of economic and strategic importance.
  • Clarion – Clipperton Zone (CCZ): With an area of around 9 million square kilometres, this is the world‘s largest manganese nodule region. The CCZ is located in the Pacific, extending from the west coast of Mexico to Hawaii.

Map of the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ)

  • India was the first country to receive the status of a pioneer investor for exploration and utilization of polymetallic nodules.
  • India was allocated an exclusive area in Central Indian Ocean Basin by United Nations (UN) in 1987.