6 Feb 2013

Cooks to ask UN for extension of continental shelf

1:21 pm on 6 February 2013

The Cook Islands has sent a delegation to the United Nations in New York to negotiate an extension of the country's continental shelf, which would give it seabed mining rights potentially worth millions.

The delegation headed by Foreign Affairs secretary Jim Gosselin will present the application to the UN authority on seabed exploration this week.

The Foreign Minister, Tom Marsters, says the Cook Islands first presented its case in 2009 and this will be the third visit to the authority.

If successful, it will add over 400,000 square kilometres of continental shelf, which could eventually be mined.

"Basically what we're looking at is the future possibility of prospecting for deep sea minerals where at the moment we are basically asking for an extension of the continental shelf which extends beyond our EEZ."

Tom Masters says they don't expect any challenges to their application and is hopeful it will be the last time they have to present their case to the authority.