Concerns raised about French Polynesian mining decision

4:49 pm on 27 May 2019

A French Polynesian pro-independence assembly member has raised concern about last week's decision to reconsider seabed mining.

The government has hired a French company to draw up a strategy on mining after earlier research found deposits of a range of minerals, including cobalt.

Richard Tuheiava

Richard Tuheiava Photo: AFP

Richard Tuheiava has told Radio1 that environmental concerns persist.

He also says there is claim lodged with the United Nations to give sovereignty over the resources to the indigenous Maohi people.

The assembly's mining commission head Charles Fong Loi says he has been told not to comment.

The study is expected to detail the exploration possibilities under French Polynesian law.

Under French law the state can claim French Polynesia's resources if they are declared of strategic value.

Paris has the rights to the territory's seabed and continental shelves, which are believed to be also rich in rare earths.

Four years ago France extended the continental shelf off several of its overseas territories, including New Caledonia.