A Cook Islands environmental organisation has issued a warning against deep sea mining in the country's exclusive economic zone which is an internationally recognised whale sanctuary.
The Cook Islands passed deep sea mining legislation last year and the government has set up framework to apply for licenses to explore mining.
The Manager of Te Ipukarea Society, Jacquie Evans, says the mining industry will consider the environment as an afterthought because it is driven by the desire to make money.
She says the organisation is worried about the threat that sea bed mining poses on marine life.
"There are no effective ways of preventing sediment flumes resulting from mining activity, either through the actual picking up of the nodules from the deep sea bed, or through the disposal of deep sea tailings after they've been brought to the surface. And those sediment flumes can have an effect on marine plankton."
Jacquie Evans says the organisation is working on raising awareness of the issue.