1 Aug 2011

Nauru company leads the way in deep sea mineral exploration

1:43 pm on 1 August 2011

Nauru is poised to become a world leader in deep sea mineral exploration and development after a state sponsored company became the first commerical enterprise to be granted a contract to explore for minerals outside of exclusive economic zones.

The contract has been granted by the International Seabed Authority to Nauru Ocean Resources inc, or NORI, to explore the Clarion Clipperton Zone, in the north-east Pacific.

Nauru's minister for Commerce, Industry and the Environment, Dominic Tabuna, says the exploration phase is a five year programme.

He says the country can afford to be involved as NORI will be raising most of the funds.

"Because it is more or less a commercial venture we think that given the figures given to us, the country can afford to raise it, NORI can raise its own funds and do this, undergo this study."

Minister Tabuna says if significant mineral resources are found, the next step would be to apply to the Internatioanl Seabed Authority for an exploitation licence.

He says one of the advantages of being involved in the study phase is that Nauru will be in a key position to understand what environmental effects mining has on the seabed.