New Zealand: Subsea Mineral Mining Drives Plans for Cook Islands’ Marine Park


Prime Minister of Cook Islands, Henry Puna will introduce his plan to change half of the Pacific island state and its seas into the biggest marine park in the world, in August 2012.

According to the IUCN, the park will cover around 2.5 pct of the whole Pacific Ocean.

„We want it to be the cleanest and greenest destination in the world,” says Prime Minister Puna.

However, he confessed that the actual reason, behind the marine park affirmation, was the prospect of deep-sea exploration of rare mineral deposits.

“We have minerals in our ocean, and it’s just a matter of coming up with the technology to exploit it but not damage the environment,“ he told.

The estimated value of manganese nodule deposits in the state’s oceans is around USD 146 billion.

Puna told that even if mining is to take place, state need to be very conscious of any possible effects on the environment.

The marine park would probably aid in setting the high environmental standards, which include regulations covering prospective exploration and exploitation of deep-sea mineral deposits.

In the last two years, Cook Islands has passed a deep sea mining legislation, set up a ministry and task force, employed a special agent, and is creating national policy on deep sea exploration.

Surging interest in deep-sea metal exploration in the Pacific has motivated island nations to work jointly to develop their environmental protection capability.

Member countries of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community began working on policy and legislation prior this year.

Subsea World News Staff , December 16, 2011