Moriori leader Maui Solomon says the company behind plans to mine the Chatham Rise seabed for phosphate nodules needs to consult with the Chathams island community.
Mr Solomon, the Hokotehi Moriori Trust Board general manager, says there needs to be a balance between economic development and adverse environmental effects.
He says Moriori are not yet in a position to make a judgement on plans by Chatham Rock Phosphate to mine 400 metres underwater for phosphate, as it has not consulted them about the potential for job creation, or how mining might benefit them financially.
Chatham Phosphate is gathering information for an environmental impact report, as part of its application for a mining licence.
The Chathams Rise between the South Island and the Chatham islands has been identified as a possible site for seafloor mining of phosphate deposits, which some consultants say could be used to supply the domestic fertiliser industry.
Mr Solomon says the company should be making it a priority to meet with the islanders, as part of the Chathams Rise is within the 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone around the Chatham Islands.