Vaka Meetings set for Seabed discussion

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Minerals and Natural Resources Hon. Mark Brown is pleased to announce the particulars of the upcoming Cook Islands Seabed Minerals Sector Strategy Public Consultations. The public consultations continue on from the work of refreshing the Cook Islands Seabed Minerals Sector Strategy, undertaken by a number of relevant Government agencies and in collaboration with key stakeholders. The new draft Sector wide strategy being developed, seeks to build on prior strategy and policy work completed in 2014 under the Seabed Minerals (SBM) Act 2009.

This strategy and legislative work being done now will set the foundations for the upcoming second Exploration Tender round in early 2019. The first tender was put out in 2015 and saw some interest from about four companies but the companies did not make it any further to submit an application. Reason-being was that the price of metal on the global market was not very high. However, with the price of Cobalt in particular being three times more than what it was a year ago, there is renewed interest, hence the second opening of the tender for exploratory licenses.

Mr Paul Lynch, Seabed Mineral Commissioner said, “The new sector strategy we are working on will ensure there is a cohesive plan across the sector, ensuring the Cook Islands maintains the latest, best practice principles from an environmental, regulatory, financial, social and legislative perspective”.

The draft strategy will be shared with the public through vaka meetings starting on the 25th October. Anyone with questions about the seabed minerals harvesting, such as environmental concerns, wealth concerns, fisheries concerns can all be addressed at these meetings led by Minister Brown and key officials and stakeholder representatives.

The vaka meetings starting in Rarotonga, are planned as follows-

  • Sinai Hall, Avarua –Wednesday 31 October, 6pm;
  • Aroa Nui Hall, Arorangi –Thursday 1 November, 6pm;
  • TitikavekaCICC Sunday School Hall –Tuesday 6 November, 6pm.

Southern and Northern Group dates and locations in late November are to be confirmed.

(news and photos courtesy of Radio Cook Islands)