India has approximately 3.3 million square km of land area with a coast line of 8041 km. The area of the Exclusive Economic Zone is 2.02 million sq.km. . In terms of the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea, 1982, the coastal States have specific rights and jurisdiction for exploring and exploiting the natural resources over the continental margin. This will add about 0.80 million sq.km. in addition to the area of the Exclusive Economic Zone. India is richly endowed in mineral sands on the Eastern and Western Coasts. Heavy mineral sands containing mostly ilmenite with some rutile, leucoxene, garnet, zircon, monazite and aluminium silicates like sillimanite and kyanite occur in isolated to extensive areas all along the India Sea coasts.
In order to develop the offshore areas scientifically and systematically, the need was felt to have a proper legal frame-work for regulation and development of minerals occurring in the offshore areas, i.e., territorial waters, continental shelf, exclusive economic zone and other maritime zones of India.