The Cook Islands is one of several Pacific nations promoting ocean floor mining as the world's greenest option.
There are thought to be vast tracts of polymetallic nodules containing valuable minerals, such as cobalt, manganese and titanium, lying on the ocean floor within the Cooks' huge exclusive economic zone.
Plans to mine the nodules have long upset enviromentalists but Alex Herman, the Seabed Minerals Commissioner, said the minerals were needed, and mining the ocean floor to get them was the "greener" option.
"This is all the more important when you look at the impact climate change is having," she said.
"So a consequence of that is the demand for minerals associated with a low carbon economy that leads us to the question then of how these metals going to be sourced, if we are going to move to that low carbon economy."