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Govt plans to amend Offshore Minerals Act to seek critical resources from ocean beds

New Delhi, Feb 27 : Aiming to seek critical minerals like nickel, lithium, and cobalt from ocean beds, the government plans to amend the Offshore Minerals Act, a move which would help reduce India’s dependence on imports of these essential natural resources.

Highly-placed sources said that amid disrupted supply chains owing to the year-long Russia-Ukraine war, the Centre plans to look for these minerals within the country, rather than depending on other countries for sourcing them, before they become difficult to find abroad.

In this light, the mines ministry plans to mine them from ocean beds as no stakes are available there, sources aware of the development said.

The process of identifying critical minerals blocks in sea beds is currently on, sources added.

Once these critical minerals are mined, the government plans to put them up for sale and even private entities will be given production leases through auction by amending the Offshore Mineral Act, sources said further.

The mines ministry is amending the Offshore Areas Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act, 2002 and has sought the stakeholders’ views on it.

Sources added that while such strategic minerals are already hard to find due to the prevailing geo-political situation, their availability may become all the more difficult, therefore the government plans to source them on priority.

Critical minerals are extremely significant for moden technological equipments like computers, mobile phones, electric vehicles and their batteries, semiconductors and solar panels as well as defence equipment.

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