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Keppel subsidiary OMS bags 15-year contract for seabed exploration

KEPPEL Corporation's majority owned company Ocean Mineral Singapore (OMS) has bagged a 15-year contract for seabed exploration within the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone of the Pacific Ocean with the International Seabed Authority (ISA).

OMS, sponsored by the Singapore government, is the first Singaporean company to be awarded an exploration contract for polymetallic nodules, said the company in a statement on Tuesday.

This follows the approval of OMS' application for the exploration licence for polymetallic nodules by the ISA on July 21, 2014.

Said OMS director Ong Ye Kung: "We are encouraged by reaching another milestone in our journey to find a more sustainable way of supporting the world's need for metal resources. In addition, we look forward to working closely with the ISA and other stakeholders to develop an environmentally responsible and commercially viable solution."

Polymetallic nodules - which contain copper, nickel, cobalt and manganese, and rare earth minerals - have the potential of supplying these key metals to meet growing global demand in applications such as construction, aerospace and alternative energy, said OMS.

Supported by the Keppel-NUS Corporate Laboratory, OMS will be conducting environmental studies and surveys for deposits of polymetallic nodules within the approved area of 58,000 sq km, which is approximately 80 times the size of Singapore, added the company.

On Tuesday, Keppel Corporation shares rose by S$0.08 to end trading at S$8.50.