New Delhi | As many as 62 blocks of deposits of heavy mineral such as zirconium, titanium, thorium, tungsten and rare earth elements have been found in India’s territorial waters, Parliament was informed today. The Geological Survey India (GSI) carries out surveys in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Territorial Waters (TW) of India to assess the offshore mineral resources, Steel and Mines Minister Narendra Singh Tomar told the Lok Sabha in a written reply.
TW is the belt of coastal water that extends up to 12 nautical miles (around 22 km) from the coast of a country. EEZ is a sea zone on which a country has special rights regarding exploration as well as the use of marine resources, including energy production from water and wind. A total of 62 blocks of 5 minutes by 5 minutes size have been identified in the offshore areas of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, Tomar informed the House regarding a query on heavy mineral placer deposits within the TW of India.
Heavy mineral sands is an important source of zirconium, titanium, thorium, tungsten, rare earth elements as well as the industrial minerals such as diamond, sapphire and garnet. Besides, GSI has identified silica sand within the TW off the Kerala coast, Lime mud within the EEZ off the Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh coast, the Minister said. Phosphatic sediments within the EEZ off the Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coastal have also been identified, he added.
That apart, Calcareous sand within the EEZ and TW off the Lakshadweep coast and Manganese encrustations/ micro nodules within the EEZ off the Lakshadweep coast have also been identified by GSI, Tomar said. In the EEZ, GSI has carried out 3,95,590 line km of bathymetric, 4,16,992 sq. km of multibeam bathymetric and 2,24,010 line km of magnetic surveys, the Minister said.
Bathymetry involves measurement of ocean depth through depth sounding.
GSI has also done 28,911 line km of gravity survey and 26,050 line km of sub bottom profiling in the EEZ, he added.
In the TW, GSI has carried out about 68,572 line km bathymetric, 2,867 sq. km of multibeam bathymetric and 26,757 line km of magnetic surveys, Tomar said. It has also done 49,057 line km of shallow seismic survey and 7,249 line km of sub bottom profiling in the TW, the Minister said.
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