The Cook Islands now has a Seabed Minerals Act. A copy is available at the office. Deep sea mining is for minerals, oil and gas, and like our fish resources, the Pacific is seen as fair game.
Submissions presented have not been incorporated in the revised document. It is still basically a document that gives the opportunity for overseas companies to buy mining licenses and on-sell them – called futures trading. Cook Islanders will not benefit financially except via license fees paid to the Government. The Ministry of Marine Resources is responsible for ocean but the Act comes under the Ministry of Finance. There is to be a regional meeting in Fiji, to map out the future of ocean mineral mining which is a potentially lucrative industry for the Pacific. A rep
from the Cook islands MMR will attend. Maureen Penjueli, Coordinator of the Fiji based Pacific Network on Globalisation says that ecosystems need to be mapped out to ascertain the effects when mining takes place. Therefore its not just TIS that is concerned, it’s a Pacific wide concern and we need to network with our counterparts and contain with our public awareness campaign.