19 Dec 2011

Cook Islands could access larger source of seabed minerals

6:54 am on 19 December 2011

A change in legislation will allow the Cook Islands to extend its borders and in turn benefit from a larger source of seabed minerals.

The Territorial Sea and Exclusive Economic Zone Amendment Bill will enable more accurate mapping of the country's slice of ocean, with the use of better technology.

It has been estimated that the country's exclusive economic zone, which spans about two million square kilometres of ocean, could receive an additional 400,000 square kilometres as a result.

The secretary of Marine Resources Ben Ponia, says they have already made a submission to the UN for an extended area.

"In that respect it will allow us in turn to negotiations with international treaties, will allow us to follow through with illegal fishing infringements, and claims to extend our borders."

The marine resources minister Teina Bishop said last week that from a seabed minerals point of view the change could be worth trillions.