Deep sea ‘gold rush’

Cook Islands News

Written by Caleb Fotheringham

Deep sea ‘gold rush’
Odyssey’s research vessel used for mineral exploration work in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu and New Zealand. SUPPLIED/21122027

Three companies could be awarded a licence to explore the Cook Islands seabed for rare minerals. 

People concerned by the prospect say the companies are investing tens of millions just to take a look and are worried they will be hard to get rid of if the environmental risks are too great. But the companies themselves say they are ready to walk away if environment assessment, which they are supposed to undertake, show risks outweigh benefits. 

Five kilometres deep on the Cook Islands’ seafloor, expensive minerals pave the bottom in the shape of potatoes that are called nodules and it’s hard to know what to do about it. 

People keen to explore mining view these minerals as an opportunity to drastically improve the Cook Islands economy and reduce carbon emissions by helping fit batteries of electric vehicles. 

Meanwhile those who are cautious are asking for more time to see what environmental damage harvesting the nodules could do to the country.

See the full article at Cook Islands News.