7 Jul 2014

Research needed for Cooks seabed mining

7:21 am on 7 July 2014

A Cook Islands environment group says the impacts of seabed mining will not be obvious in the short term and the next government needs to carefully research the benefits before digging up the ocean.

Aitutaki Lagoon, Cook Islands

Aitutaki Lagoon, Cook Islands Photo: RNZI

In just a few days, Cook Islanders will cast their votes in the general election and the technical director of Te Ipukarea Society, Kelvin Passfield, says the pros and cons of seabed mining should be considered.

"Any seabed mining that does go on should have minimal impact on the environment and a lot of stringent controls should be put in place to ensure that. The government keeps telling us about the huge amount of wealth which is down there on the bottom of the ocean so we would say that you only really have to mine a very small area to get a huge benefit."

Kelvin Passfield, says the biodiversity of the surrounding waters is unknown and research needs to be done to ensure mining does not disturb the ecosystem.