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Deep Sea Mining Conference underway in Cook Islands

Staff Reporter | 2:03 PM | |
A FIVE-DAY workshop is being held in Cook Islands this week which aims to help Pacific island countries better understand deep sea mining.

According to the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), which is holding this regional workshop, deep sea minerals could greatly improve the economies and livelihoods of the Pacific Islands countries if the funds from this mines are used and managed wisely.

The regional workshop is in its fifth training series. This one is focusing on the ‘Financial Aspects’ of the upcoming deep sea minerals industry. The workshop brought together more than 60 Pacific Island government minerals and finance officials and experts from around the globe for the first regional event of its kind on managing the potential wealth generated from the extraction of deep sea minerals. Although deep sea mining is yet to occur world-wide, there is much commercial interest in mineral formations, such as nodules, crusts and seafloor massive sulphides that have been discovered on the seabed, thousands of metres below sea-level, particularly in the Pacific Ocean.

The event is organised by SPC’s European Union-funded Deep Sea Minerals (DSM) Project, working with the Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Centre (PFTAC) – a subsidiary of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

A wide range of interested stakeholders were expected to attend the workshop, from as far afield as South Sudan, Norway, and Mauritius as well as Timor Leste, with the aim of sharing their experiences and professional expertise. The workshop is discussing how to turn those minerals sitting on the deep ocean floor into new revenue for Pacific Island countries to expand their economies.

The workshop is focusing on how countries that choose to proceed to mining can capture a fair ‘deal’, through good governance of revenue received, and learn from past lessons, both elsewhere and closer to home.

This is where the SPC-EU DSM Project regional training events play an important role. The workshops are designed to prepare Pacific Island countries for all aspects of regulating their deep sea minerals. Previous workshops covered other subjects, including environmental, legal, social and geological aspects of DSM.