Anti-seabed mining campaigners have urged Pacific Island Forum members meeting in Rarotonga to place a moratorium on the activity.
Maureen Penjueli of the Pacific Network on Globalisation says the governments should take a cue from Australia's Northern Territory which has placed a three year ban on the activity.
Ms Penjueli says mining companies can not credibly demonstrate that the impact of their activities are negligible, much less reversible - the basis of a legal concept known as the precautionary principle.
"Their interpretation is that let us practise this industry and then let's learn from how it's done and mitigate. The legal opinion that we have commissioned is very clear that this is an incorrect interpretation of the precautionary principle which seeks to prevent environmental damage before it occurs."
Maureen Penjueli says the approach of companies' and regional authorities will place a heavy burden on Pacific Island nations who don't have the capacity to closely monitor mining in remote areas.