Germany is seeking a permit to explore the sea bed off Madagascar with a view to securing access to strategically important minerals. Hydrothermal fields in the Indian Ocean have been found to be very promising.
The German Economics Ministry confirmed Friday that the country had officially applied for a license to mine raw materials in the Indian Ocean with a view to eventually excavating valuable minerals from under the sea bed.
It said the license would cost $500,000 (366,000 euros) and would give Germany 15-year exclusive access to about 10,000 square kilometers south east of Madagascar.
The Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources had gone to the area a couple of times to look for metal ores found in hydrothermal fields on deep-sea beds.
Fostering technological progress
Researchers said they focused on sulphides containing large concentrations of metals including gold, silver and elements required to produce computers, mobile phones, televisions and wind turbines.
Back in 2006, Germany already obtained a similar license in the Pacific. Both projects are aimed at acquiring politically safe access to important raw materials and encouraging technological development.
The Jamaica-based International Seabed Authority is responsible for issuing licenses for commercial exploration of the ocean floor outside national boundaries.
hg/se (Reuters, dpa)