23 Feb 2016

Cooks to take more direct approach to seabed mining

4:44 pm on 23 February 2016

The Cook Islands government says it will consider a more direct approach to find investors to mine its sea floor after a five month open tender process failed to register a single bid.

Cook Islands Finance Minister Mark Brown

Cook Islands Finance Minister Mark Brown Photo: Phillipa Webb / Cook Islands News

The country's finance minister said he was not surprised by the lack of interest in the open tender process given the depressed state of global minerals markets and the high risk, high cost nature of deep sea mining.

Mark Brown said while the Cook Islands was reviewing its tender process, negotiations were already underway with various international companies from Europe, America and Canada.

"One of them we are engaged in discussions in a partnership arrangement also in the international seabed authority area in the northern Pacific in the Clarion Clipperton Zone.

"And the others we are in discussions with are looking at options for exploration in our own EEZ."

The Cook Islands open tender process was launched in August last Year and expired last month.

The Cook Islands Seabed Minerals Authority said it received enquiries from companies in Japan, Korea, China, the US, UK and Germany but no formal applications were lodged.