12 Mar 2008

Cook Islands opposition leader calls for a non partisan approach on allowing mining

11:15 am on 12 March 2008

The Cook Islands Opposition Leader, Tom Marsters, is calling for a non partisan approach to allow mining of the vast mineral wealth within the country's exclusive economic zone.

The deposits, several thousand metres from the surface, are mostly manganese but include cobalt, silver, nickel, copper, iron and possibly gold and platinum valued at trillions of dollars.

Mr Marsters says mineral companies are waiting to come in and the country's politicians should let this happen.

He says they could make use of the expertise of the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation as the Cook Islands has done in the past.

"They prepared the first legislation for mining - the draft legislation. So I don't see why we can't access that source again and it is free to Commonwealth countries, and they can access the best expertise we are looking for in the world."