30 April 2021.
A Deep-sea mining robot, Patania II got stranded on the Pacific Ocean floor.
- The Patania II robot was designed to explore rocks rich in Nickel and Cobalt in the Pacific Ocean at a depth of 13,000 feet. The Umbilical cable of the robot got detached when its first trials were near completion. Cobalt and Nickel are essential for low carbon technologies.
- The recovery of the machine is being planned.
- The exploration is being held in the Clarion Clipperton Zone of the Pacific Ocean.
- The robot weighs twenty-five tonnes. It was developed by Global Sea Mineral Resources (GSR). The GSR company was awarded 75,000 square kilometres of contract area in the Clarion Clipperton Zone. This is 2.5 times the size of Belgium. The incident has brought back the focus on Deepsea mining and its environmental impacts to the central stage.
Clarion Clipperton Zone
- It is a geological submarine fracture zone that runs 7,240 kilo metres. It is a fracture zone of Pacific Ocean. Fracture zones are created due to plate tectonics. It is a linear oceanic feature that runs thousands of kilometres long. They are formed from the action of offset mid-ocean ridges. Mid-ocean ridge is a sea floor mountain.
- The Clarion Clipperton Zone is administered by the International Seabed Authority. The Authority has divided the region into sixteen mining claims. Each mine covers 160,000 square kilo metres.
- According to the International Seabed Authority, the region has 0.27 billion tonnes of Nickel, 0.05 billion tonnes of Cobalt and 0.23 billion tonnes of copper.
- The region is rich is biodiversity. In 2017, more than 34 new species were discovered in the region.
Concerns against Deep Sea Mining
As Clarion Clipperton is highly rich in biodiversity, deep sea mining might have serious impacts on the marine organisms in the region.
Samudrayaan Project of India
It is a proposed Deep Sea mining project of India. Under the project, three aquanauts are to reach the deep sea for exploration. The project is to be implemented by the National Institute of Ocean Technology. It is in line with Gaganyaan Mission of ISRO.