30 Jul 2015

Cooks set to sign contract on seabed minerals in Pacific

9:22 am on 30 July 2015

The Cook Islands has made a claim to an area in the mineral-rich Clarion-Clipperton Zone.

The area on the Pacific seafloor, spanning six million square kilometres - a size comparable to the United States - already has 15 other countries and private companies vying for exclusive rights over certain parts.

The Cook Islands seabed minerals authority minister, Mark Brown, has been in Jamaica at the International Seabed Authority headquarters to work out the final issues related to the signing of the contract.

Copper on the sea floor

Copper on the sea floor Photo: Nautilus Minerals

The government is looking at three areas, with a total of 75,000 square kilometres.

Although there have been some delays in the signing of the contract, Mr Brown says it will be signed this year.

Mr Brown says the contract will be handled by the Cook Islands Investment Corporation on behalf of government.

The long-term aim is to establish a state-owned enterprise that will be responsible for operational aspects of the seabed industry.