The scientific community is calling on Pacific Island countries to adopt a collaborative approach to developing sea bed mining in the region.
Papua New Guinea is closest to having deep water mining begin in the Bismarck Sea, while the Cook Islands last week opened up bidding for exploratory licences.
But a principal scientist at New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Malcolm Clark, says scientists working with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community are pushing for more collaboration among Pacific Island countries.
"It is not going to happen overnight but there will be a considered and co-ordinated regional approach because those 200 mile limits around a lot of the islands are only boundaries on paper. What happens in one country can well affect the waters of another country. And so it is a case of making sure that there is a level of co-ordination amongst the countries."