French look to seize seabed resources in the Pacific

France advised to expand seabed zone for rare earth mining

The French Economic, Social and Environmental Council has urged the government to secure resources in the seabed off France’s overseas territories.

In a report, the Council says the Law of the Sea allows for France to lay claim to an additional two million square kilometres, half of which are in French Polynesia.

It says France would be negligent not to profit from this as French Polynesia has rare earths, whose reserves are held by China in a near monopoly.

The report also points to cobalt off Wallis and Futuna and hydrocarbon deposits near New Caledonia.

However, the report says the area is contested by Vanuatu.

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