SPC Geoscience Division

Home News & Media Releases Latest Cook Islands Government approves establishment of seabed minerals task force

Cook Islands Government approves establishment of seabed minerals task force

E-mail Print PDF

Press Release: Deputy Prime Minister’s Office, Cook Islands, 23 July 2010

The Hon. Robert Wigmore, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister responsible for seabed mining activities has today announced concrete steps aimed at progressing seabed mining in the Cook Islands.

“The Government is totally committed to the development of our rich seabed mineral resources for the benefit of the present and future generations of Cook Islanders,” stressed the Deputy Prime Minister.  “To do that we must ensure that in the pioneering field of seabed mining we have in place sound developmental policies to guide seabed mining activities and regulations in force that will enable us to control and protect the wealth that belongs to the people of the Cook Islands as well as our marine environment before any exploratory or other mining activities begin.  It must be the Government and people of the Cook Islands that have control over seabed mining, not outside interests.”

With that in mind, Cabinet has approved the establishment of a task force of senior officials from key Government agencies and Private Sector representation to recommend an overall seabed mining policy and a timetable and roadmap setting out essential steps that should be followed to enable seabed mining activities to begin, including the bringing into force of the Seabed Minerals Act passed by Parliament in 2009.   That Act provides for the appointment of a Seabed Minerals Commissioner and the establishment of the Seabed Mining Authority and an Advisory Board.

The task force will be assisted and advised by independent professional experts in the field from the Commonwealth Secretariat and other organisations such as the Pacific Islands Applied Geosciences Commission (SOPAC) and take into account detailed seabed mining regulations enacted by other governments such as the United States before seabed mining commenced in their waters.

“The wealth on the seabed belongs to all Cook Islanders and decisions on how to exploit seabed minerals must be taken responsibly and as per provisions contained in the Seabed Minerals Act,” said Mr Wigmore.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 May 2011 17:12  


Island Business: June 2013 Dionisia Tabureguci - Year after year, earthquakes and tropical cyclones have battered a number of small islands countries in the Pacific region, some to such a degree that thousands of lives are lost and millions of dollars in damages are incurred.

They have become regular visitors to the region, their tendency to disrupt national planning and put pressure on national budgets becoming as much a concern as their propensity to cut swathes through national population and bring untold trauma. Not surprisingly, scientific studies have categorised some of them as among the most vulnerable countries in the world when it comes to their exposure to natural hazards and indeed, while earthquakes and cyclones have been identified as the region’s two chief nemeses, the region is not spared from other forms like flooding, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis.

As momentum increases in the region to address their ravaging impacts, a new research is shedding new light on just how exposed Pacific Islands Countries (PICs) are to earthquakes and tropical cyclones, projecting an average annual bill of some US$278 million for 14 PICs from damages they will sustain from these two forms of natural disasters. Known as the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Assessment and Financing Initiative (PCRAFI), the multi-donor-supported project is administered by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) through its Applied Science and Technology Division (SOPAC).

It uses a combination of historical data and new mapping technology to give vulnerable islands nations in the region improved tools for planning and preparedness.