Benefits to Pacific seabed mining investigated

3:02 pm on 29 February 2016

A new report says sea bed mining in the Pacific would significantly benefit Papua New Guinea and the Cook Islands.

Sampling copper under the sea

Seabed mining Photo: Nautilus Minerals

The cost benefit analysis report, commissioned by the SPC and the European Union, aims to provide information to Pacific countries about the impacts of sea bed mining.

The report looks into mining in three Pacific counties - seafloor massive sulphides in Papua New Guinea, maganese nodules in Cook Islands and cobalt-rich crusts in the Marshall Islands.

The report found the mining in PNG and Cook Islands has benefits that significantly outweigh costs.

But it said crust-mining in the Marshall Islands was not currently economically viable due to present metal prices, expected ore recovery and the cost of technology.

The report said if proper steps were taken to manage environmental risk, there was a higher possibility of social benefits outweighing social costs in all three countries.